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Chatting With Illinois and Penn State Prospect 2017 Combo Guard Terryonte Thomas

Could Terryonte Thomas be the next great player for Illinois or Penn State?

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, BTPowerhouse got the chance to chat with 2017 prospect Terryonte Thomas.  Although Thomas has yet to receive an offer from a Big Ten program, he is a player on the radar of several Big Ten programs including the Illini and the Nittany Lions and should make a quality addition to any program.

Thomas comes out of Columbus, Mississippi on the eastern side of Mississippi near the state border with Alabama.  Although Thomas only has limited rankings available at the moment, he is perceived to be a Division I prospect that has the potential to really develop in the near future.  Along with Illinois and Penn State, he is already receiving attention from Florida, Iowa State, Kansas State, Memphis, Murray State, Ole Miss, Texas, Troy, VCU, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Xavier among others.

Some of the areas that Thomas identified as strengths were his passing, athleticism, and his ability to put pressure on opponents on the defensive end.  At the college level, he hopes this can translate into a fast paced offense that creates mismatches.  Of course, Thomas also has some areas he is looking to improve.  Specifically, he mentioned his outside shooting and playing off the ball as areas where he can continue to improve.

One of the players that Thomas told BTPowerhouse that he likes to model his game off is Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook due to his energy, athleticism, commitment to defense, and his unselfish play on the court.  This comes as no surprise, as while talking with Thomas his commitment to unselfish play and team success were quite apparent.

Though Thomas remains a rising prospect on the national radar, he did talk about his decision process.  He hopes to set up visits soon after June 15th, which is when coaches can contact 2017 recruits.

However, Thomas did speak about what would attract him to program like Illinois.

"They're a good team and are coming up nationally," Thomas said. "[Coach Groce] is a great coach and they had consecutive 20+ win seasons with some good wins over Michigan State and UNLV."

Along with this, Thomas told BTPowerhouse his thoughts on Penn State.

"Coach Chambers is a great coach and has been upgrading every year and competing [in the] Big Ten," Thomas told BTPowerhouse.  "I really like the passion of Penn State's fan base and all-out style of play."

In the classroom, Thomas has yet to decide on a major, but academics do appear to be a significant part of his decision process.  Particularly, Thomas is looking at education and history as potential majors once he arrives on a college campus, though he remains open.

One additional note on Thomas is that he has received significant collegiate interest on the football field as well.  Schools interested in him on the gridiron include Alabama, Memphis, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss.  At this point, Thomas would lean toward basketball over football at the college level, but he did admit that a major offer from a program like Alabama could change this comparison.

Though Thomas has yet to receive offers from either Illinois or Penn State, he still remains a prospect on the Big Ten's radar and should make an impact somewhere in collegiate athletics starting in 2017.