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October 24, 2008

Thomas discusses commitment to Maryland

After Maryland Madness last Friday, Alyssa Thomas and her father, Bob, left Comcast Center in search of a midnight snack.

The father-daughter pair settled on a local McDonald’s, and over a couple of milkshakes, Thomas, a junior wing from Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, Pa., dropped a bombshell on her dad.

“I told him I was ready [to commit to Maryland],” Thomas said. “He didn’t know what I was talking about at first. And he was kind of shocked that I was ready so early. He asked if I was sure and I told him I was positive about it and he was like, ’OK, you know what you have to do.’”

The following morning, Thomas followed through on that plan, offering a verbal commitment to Maryland coach Brenda Frese. According to Thomas, Frese was “ecstatic” about the news.

“I told Coach Frese Saturday morning. I met her in her office,” Thomas said. “Then she asked me if I wanted to tell the team and I told her she could tell them. She gathered the team in the locker room, and they were all excited and just screaming. They just welcomed me to the family.”

Thomas picked Maryland over Penn State, Notre Dame, Marquette, Duquesne, Virginia, Villanova, St. Joseph’s and Pittsburgh. According to Central Dauphin head coach Bill Wolf, Maryland identified Thomas as its top wing target for the class of 2010 early on in the process. While Wolf was a little surprised that she committed so early, he wasn’t shocked by her choice.

“Initially she was going to take her time and do some unofficial visits to some schools, but she had visited [College Park] once in the summer and was really impressed," Wolf said. "She went this past weekend and just really enjoyed her visit. She basically told her parents ... ‘this is a place I feel I want to go.’ The fact that they’re nationally ranked and she really feels she’s at a place where she can compete for a national championship all four years [was important for her]. Everything just sort of came together.”

Thomas led Central Dauphin to a state championship as a sophomore, averaging approximately 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists per game, while shooting better than 50 percent from the field. Wolf said there are few things on the court that Thomas isn’t capable of doing. There's even a solid chance she could claim a spot in Maryland's starting lineup as a true freshman in 2010.

“Alyssa will be a pretty natural 3 at the college level,” Wolf said. “She plays a guard position for me in high school. I use her as a 2 because of the fact that I use her to handle the ball a lot to break pressure and so forth. She’s the type of girl that makes her teammates better. She plays a lot like Magic Johnson in that she can get an outlet pass and lead the break, make the right pass at the right time. She averaged 18 points per game as a sophomore, [made] first-team all-state in Pennsylvania as a sophomore. ... She could’ve scored more to be quite honest. But she makes sure her teammates get involved, and in crunch time she’s definitely someone to go to to score a needed basket. ... So she’s just a really good player.”

Thomas has two seasons left to add onto her already impressive high school legacy. For now, Thomas said she’s enjoying her new status as a Maryland recruit, while also mentally preparing herself for her Terps debut in two years.

“It’s been pretty crazy [at school since I committed],” Thomas said. “Everybody’s been congratulating me and saying how they can’t wait to get all their Terps gear. ... It’s two years away [until I play for Maryland] and I have plenty of time to think about it and prepare myself for what’s ahead. I have two years to improve and I would love to just come out and show people what I can really do.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:01 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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Area high school commitments -- 2009
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Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class
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Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class

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