Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thomas' profile rising

At 6-4, 215, Bryan Thomas stands out wearing a Washington High School boys basketball uniform. Lately, the back-up junior player is being noticed more for his play than his imposing physical stature.

Thomas scored 12 points with a game-high eight rebounds (seven offensive) during the Prexies' easy 61-29 victory over Cranberry Tuesday night in a PIAA Class AA playoff game at Wash High Gymnasium.

"I try to play as hard as possible. It's the playoffs. I'll do anything to help," Thomas said. "Coach (Ron) Faust wants me to do what I can in the paint."

For Thomas, that means getting offensive rebounds. In Washington's last two playoff games, he's grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.

Thomas, a cousin of former Prexies and Notre Dame football player Travis Thomas, also scored points in bunches against the Berries. He tallied eight as the Prexies opened the second quarter with 10 quick points. Six of those points came on putbacks and he had four offensive rebounds during the stretch.

Faust called Thomas "the player throughout this years who has improved the most." He's also considered one of the better high school football players in the area.

Playing on a Wash High team that finished 1-8 didn't do much to raise Thomas' profile but the punishing tackler is drawing Division I interest as a linebacker or, possibly, a defensive end.

"I've got a lot of Division I schools looking at me," said Thomas, who listed Illinois, Duke and Cincinnati among the 15 teams who've contacted him. "I don't have any offers yet. Teams are waiting for me to take my SAT's."

Until then, Thomas is organizing training sessions as Washington waits for a new football coach to replace former coach Bill Britton, a staunch supporter of Thomas' skills and work ethic.

"We're in the weight room as much as possible," Thomas said. "I work 110 percent so I can take myself further."

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