Basketball’s a pretty simple sport if you think about it. Here’s the ball, go put it through that hoop and score your team a bunch of points. Fortunately for LSU, Cam Thomas, the young man tasked with replacing the great Skylar Mays, is one of the most gifted scorers coming into the college game.
A five-star prospect, Thomas is one of the best players to come out of the talent-rich state of Virginia in recent years. Thomas began his high school career at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va., before transferring to perennial basketball power Oak Hill Academy.
Thomas only played two seasons at Oak Hill Academy and despite that left as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,219 points. As a junior he led the team with 26 points and upped that to 31 points a game as a senior.
Regardless of the competition, Thomas was, as the kids say, a bucket. He led Oak Hill Academy in scoring; he led the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in scoring; he led the Nike Peach Jam in scoring. Are you sensing a theme here?
As Thomas’ points went up, so too did the schools after him. Virginia Tech was the first to offer Thomas; North Carolina State was after him for three years; Oregon and Auburn offered scholarships. But then LSU came around with an offer in May of 2019. After the offer, Thomas took an official visit to Baton Rouge in September but LSU had to sweat out Thomas making trips to UCLA and Auburn in successive weeks. But the impression LSU made was strong and Thomas signed in November.
247 Composite Ranking: *****
247 Composite Rating: .9913
National Rank: 25th
Position Rank: 5th
Physically there’s nothing extraordinary about Thomas. He’s got the typical length for a two-guard and of course being as young as he is, he’s still a little thin. He’s listed at 180 pounds on 247’s site, but on LSU’s page he’s apparently bulked up to 210 which is excellent, he’ll need to add strength if he wants to fully realize his potential.
And my goodness is there a lot of potential here. Thomas can score, score, and score some more and shows a really good shooting touch. He’ll be able to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor. Scouts are high on his catch and shoot ability so that ought to pair well with having a junior point guard like Javonte Smart running the offense. He also shows a really good ability to create space for himself with step-back jumpers and has the handle to stop on a dime, use his defender’s momentum against him, and pull up for a midrange shot.
If Thomas is indeed 210 pounds that makes me giddy because he could turn into an excellent defensive player. Thomas is quick, long and instinctual and that adds up to potentially erasing an opposing player’s best guard.
High End: A one-and-done player who, between his natural scoring ability and promising defensive instincts, turns into a first round pick
Low End: Finds the college game is infinitely more challenging than the AAU circuit and struggles as a freshman while showing flashes of what’s buried underneath. Stays for a second season before ultimately bolting for the NBA
Realistic: This is LSU’s starting two-guard and he won’t be in Baton Rouge long. To me Thomas will be a better version of Antonio Blakeney. The two might be equally gifted scorers, but Thomas looks to be a much better defender.