One of the fastest rising prospects in Minnesota this year, Orono senior forward Jarvis Thomas will be announcing his college decision 6 p.m. Tuesday night at his high school, Thomas tweeted Sunday afternoon.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Thomas hasn’t cut his list down recently, but the Gophers are believed to be the favorite to land him. Thomas, who also has scholarship offers from Wake Forest, Marquette, Iowa State and Arizona State, is already an AAU teammate of University of Minnesota big man commit Daniel Oturu with the Howard Pulley Panthers.
Richard Pitino and his staff followed Howard Pulley (along with 2018 guards Tre Jones and Gabe Kalscheur) in the Nike Peach Jam Championships in South Carolina this week.
Armstrong's Race Thompson, the son of Gophers football great Darrell Thompson, announced his decision Sunday on Twitter to play for Indiana, which could be a sign the Gophers are landing Thomas in the 2018 class.
Although reports are that Thompson will try to reclassify to the 2017 class and redshirt for the 2017-18 season.
Thomas and Thompson, former D1 Minnesota AAU teammates last year, have different strengths to their game, but they are both projected to play power forward at the next level.
Thompson is a skilled offensive player. Thomas is a high-energy, explosive athlete capable of defending multiple positions.
Videos of Thomas’ emphatic dunks, alley-oop slams and putbacks have gone viral all over social media this spring and summer. He averaged 7.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during the Nike EYBL regular season.
Oturu and Thomas were one of the most athletic frontcourts in the Nike EYBL. They both excel at blocking shots, crashing the offensive boards and finishing above the rim.
Thomas isn’t limited to just dunking, though. On a recent unofficial visit last month, Thomas said Pitino praised his toughness, versatility, ability to run the floor and defend all five positions.
Pitino compared Thomas to current Gophers starting power forward Jordan Murphy, who earned All-Big Ten third-team honors last season as a sophomore.
The Gophers haven’t signed a Minnesota native since landing Amir Coffey and Michael Hurt in the 2016 recruiting class. They failed to get any in-state prospects in 201 7 after offering six players, but Pitino’s big turnaround last season to reach the NCAA tournament has made a strong impression with top local talent.
Oturu and Thomas would give the Gophers two of the state’s top five players in the 2018 class. The No. 1 senior in Minnesota is Apple Valley’s point guard Jones, who is still considering the Gophers along with Duke, UCLA and other programs. Kalscheur, a shooting guard from DeLaSalle, could be favoring the Gophers but his timetable is uncertain.