Just days after narrowing things down to two schools, class of 2013 shooting guard Matt Thomas narrowed it down to one.
Thomas made a verbal commitment to Iowa State on Thursday, bringing a successful end to a long courtship by the ISU coaching staff. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard made multiple unofficial visits to Iowa State and attended several Cyclone home games in the past two seasons. And Thomas, who'd been coming to Ames for games since he was a kid, decided in the end to bank on those two things: relationships and location.
"It was just my gut feeling that it felt right," Thomas said about his decision. "Coach Hoiberg and Coach Otzelberger have been there since day one. They've been recruiting me for a long time. I've gotten to know them so well and I feel I can be successful at Iowa State.
"Being close to home is a plus, too, because my family and friends can come see me play," he added. "That's pretty important to me."
Thomas said he called Hoiberg on Thursday to give him the news.
"He was really pumped up, he said he was going to have a good night now, which I thought was kind of funny," said Thomas. "I talked to both him and T.J. and they were both pretty excited about it."
Thomas is the first verbal commitment in Iowa State's basketball class of 2013.
Unlike most prospects who have been on the Division I radar for a long time, Thomas looked back on the whole process and called it fun. But he is relieved that it's over and said he said he expects other programs to respect his decision to commit to ISU and stop recruiting him.
Thomas is active this month with his Onalaska High School team in local camps. In July, he'll play on the AAU circuit with the Wisconsin Playmakers, participating in two tournaments in Milwaukee and one in Las Vegas.
Thomas said he's undecided on his major at Iowa State.