Exclusive chat with Adonis Thomas

Adonis Thomas
has been to Los Angeles three times, but he’s never been on the UCLA campus.

He knows about the Southern California weather, he knows the food and the people. He’s eaten in L.A. and he’s met the people himself.

But this weekend, when he ventures to Westwood for an official visit as the No. 2-ranked small forward and No. 8-ranked overall player – one of three in the country still uncommitted – Thomas wants to really feel what UCLA is about.

“I’m familiar with the program, what they’ve produced, the tradition they have, but I really want to go to see the campus, see the enviornament, the players that are there,” Thomas said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “It gives them a chance to really show me what they have to offer. I want to see the academic side of the school, the style of play, what I can expect if I come here.
“This is my third time in LA, first on campus, so I have to really tune in on the visit.”

Visiting this weekend along with friend Quinn Cook, the No. 4 point guard in the country, Thomas hopes to get a feel most for the players and Ben Howland’s playing style.

“That’s great for me to get a chance being with the guys,” Thomas said. “I might be there for four years. I want to be familiar with the guys I’ll be hanging out with on the off the court. That chemistry off the court leads to success on the court.”

UCLA is one of five schools still in the running for Thomas’ services, including Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida, and he said “all five of the schools all have a great shot right now.”

Unimpressed by factors such as weather and location and the quality of campus, Thomas is really just trying to get a grasp of his future development, hoping to become another in a successful line of pros who matriculated at UCLA.

“When I get there, I want to develop,” Thomas said. “I want to get to the next level. I want to go to a school that puts me in the league. No, (location, etc.) doesn’t matter at all. No matter where I go, the weather’s going to be changing.”

The biggest sell for Howland and Co. on this trip: Trying to convey that the development of some of the recent stars – Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison, Jrue Holiday – was furthered along by Howland.

“That’s one thing I have to see,” Thomas said. “I’m a guy who can fit into any type of offensive or defensive strategy. I havent really had a chance to see those guys play, but I’ve heard he’s a really good defensive coach and runs a good pick-and-roll system.
“From what he’s produced, they’ve been successful. I want to be in the league just like those guys.”

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  • Martin

    Not buying it. Hope he has a great career in the east coast and enjoy your visit.

  • Reformed Droog

    Yeah, I tend to agree. Best of luck to the kid, wherever he decides to go, but you have to figure Tennessee or Memphis have him in the bag.

    I mean, how interested could he be if he’s only “heard [Howland]‘s a good defensive coach and runs a good pick-and-roll system”?

  • Anonymous

    He just wants a free visit to SoCal. Who wouldn’t?

  • http://www.insidesocal.com Dallas Bruin

    I call BS too. “I know the weather is going to be changing?” But for the occasional 113 degree day, it really doesn’t- that’s the beauty of it. “See the academic side of the school?”- If he is looking for a good academic side, then it is a no brainer among those five schools. “It gives them a chance to really show me what they have to offer”– Translation- BMW please…. wrong LA school. Smells like Blue Chips to me…

    I could be totaly wrong. I hope so. We need the help.

  • MichaelRyerson

    you think this guy’s got a little entitlement issue going? judging by this, he ain’t Bruin material.

  • Anonymous

    In case anyone was wondering – Bruin fans spedjones, yoda and “Count” Smackula are trolling over on Inside USC today.

  • UCLArt

    Sped, Yoda, and Smack are idiots.
    They are poor representatives of UCLA fans.
    A Troll is a troll is a troll.

  • Anonymous

    Sped, Yoda, and Smack are trolls but I find them witty and amusing. The Preacher is hilarious. I wouldn’t mind the USC trolls if they were comedic as well.

  • Anonymous

    Hilarious Yoda is.

    Do well to listen to him you would.