Bo Ryan and his Wisconsin coaching staff have a propensity for transforming vanilla recruits into hot fudge sundaes. Another such project is 15-year-old Jarvis Thomas-Omersa. The Tartan High School freshman is one of the top young basketball prospects in the state of Minnesota that hardly anybody knows about.
Tartan MN/Lockdown 2018 6'8 PF Jarvis Thomas growing interest from Wisconsin letter inviting on campus visit & Camp pic.twitter.com/oP6rDCusQw— MWPE (@MWPElite) May 13, 2015
Jarvis is definitely flying below the radar at this stage in his career. None of the major recruiting publications have him listed. However, North Star Hoops Report, a website that covers high school and AAU basketball for the state of Minnesota, ranks him in the Top 60 Freshmen.
The Oakdale, MN, youngster plays for 15-U Elite Minnesota Lockdown. The team is 17-3. At the Battle of the Lakes tournament April 10-12, Thomas averaged 16.0 PPG. Last year he played on the same team as a 14-year-old eighth-grader. He averaged 4.3 PPG. and 3.0 RPG.
Despite his no-star/unlisted rating, Thomas-Omersa is drawing more and more attention as the AAU spring session winds down. The Badgers have taken notice and invited him to attend their summer camp. He was also selected to attend the 6th Annual Super Soph Camp in Atlanta, GA, May 29-31. It consists of The Nation's Top 100 Rising Sophomores. Notable alumni include Tyus Jones, Gary Trent Jr., Zach Brown, MJ Walker, and Malik Zachary.
It's too early to tell what position he will play in college. He has experience playing the 3, 4, and 5 spots because of his growth pattern. A year ago, he was 6-4 and played the wing. Six months ago he was 6-6 and played small forward. Now, he is listed as a 6-8 power forward. Who knows, maybe by the time he turns 18, he will be listed as a 7-2 skyscraper in downtown Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul area is becoming a hotbed for college recruiting. Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino has been doing a decent job of retaining home grown talent. This upcoming season, Pitino will have three Minnesota recruits on his roster. And another 2016 commit for next season. Who knows, maybe he can land this unheralded talent.
Check out these highlights from Jarvis Thomas-Omersa's coming out party at the 2015 Twin City Tune Up March 28 in Bloomington, MN.
Jarvis runs the floor well for a kid his size. He is a definite presence on defense with his shot-blocking ability. He has decent footwork in the post, but needs to address his lack of signature post moves and short-range jumpers. His strength and stamina is questionable, but that should develop in time.
Ryan defies the odds when it comes to any correlation between recruiting and success. In 14 seasons at Wisconsin, the 67-year-old has had two 5-Star players (Sam Dekker in 2012 and Brian Butch in 2003). His 2013 class, ranked 45th overall and 7th in the Big Ten, consisted of one 4-star, three 3-Stars, one 2-Star, and a no-Star. In the past 10 recruiting classes, four 2-Stars have received scholarships. The 2011 class ranked 50th overall and 8th in the B1G, included 3-Star Frank Kaminsky. We all know how that turned out.
Yet...the Badgers have qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of Ryan's 14 seasons , including four 30-win seasons, four B1G regular season titles, three B1G tournament titles, and back-to-back Final Fours in 2014 and 2015. Not bad considering his 2014 class was ranked 115th overall and 14th in the conference.
Jarvis Thomas-Omersa may be unlisted, but his cell phone is soon-to-be ringing off the hook from college suitors.
Remember the youngster with two first names, Jarvis Thomas-Omersa: Wisconsin's Destiny Child?