Minnesota has been very active on the recruiting front over the past month and that included the commitment of three-star power forward Jarvis Thomas out of Long Lake, Minn.
Thomas committed to Richard Pitino last month, and with that the Golden Gophers picked up a skilled and dynamic stretch forward. He is listed at 6-foot-8, 225 pounds and is ranked as the 34th best power forward in the country, and third best overall recruit in the state of Minnesota, according to 247Sports. He’s also nationally ranked just outside the top 150 overall prospects for the class of 2018.
Thomas got a lot of buzz on the recruiting trail before committing to Minnesota on July 18. He had a number of offers from big name schools, including Iowa State, Arizona State, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest and Marquette. Michigan State and Wisconsin also had interest in Thomas but didn’t offer, according to 247Sports.
Last week I took a look at the Golden Gophers’ most recent commit, Gabe Kalscheur, who is also a member of the Howard Pulley Panthers. So this week I wanted to analyze what Thomas will bring to the table for Minnesota.
Starting off I like the pure athletic ability and size Thomas brings to the table. At 6-foot-8, 225 pounds he has the size needed to post up and compete in the paint with other Big Ten forwards and centers. He also appears to move well for a big guy. In one highlight tape he was able to get up and down the floor with ease and led a number of fast breaks that resulted in dunks.
Another thing I noticed from the tape was his overall impact on the offensive end of the court. He obviously has the size to be a guy who can bang it down low in the post — fight for rebounds and score some put-backs — but he also has range. He showcased his ability to hit jump shots and had a pretty stroke from behind the arc. So with that he appears to have the talent and skillset to be a stretch forward for Minnesota. He won’t simply be someone who’s always parked under the basket.
On the other end of the floor he also has shown the ability to make an impact. He was making blocks all throughout the multiple highlight tapes I watched and also picked off a number of passes for easy steals. Now if you watch the highlights included in this article then you’ll notice that he has plenty of size on his competition and thus blocking these shots are easy for him. Obviously that won’t be the case at the next level, but it still shows he has the motivation and mindset to play hard defense. That’s a good sign.
In a lot of ways I see Thomas comparing to Jordan Murphy. Both are athletic for how big they are, both can make plays in the post and both have solid defensive skills as well. I’m not saying Thomas is on the same level of Murphy at this point, but he has what appears to be a comparable skillset that could lead to a similar career at Minnesota. If that ends up being the case then Pitino has struck gold again with Thomas.
I like what I saw of Thomas in the multiple highlight tapes I watched. Again, take this with a grain of salt but he has size, athletic ability, a good shot and willingness to play defense. All of those things add up to create an outstanding power forward in this league. He’ll have to continue to improve but I believe he has the initial tools to become another Murphy for Minnesota. Like I said before, if that happens then Pitino and Minnesota fans will be very happy.