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August 12, 2011With one projected scholarship still available for Penn State men's basketball head coach Patrick Chambers' first full recruiting class, he's set his sights on one of the top in-state talents.
The strategy seems to be paying dividends.
Harrisburg (Pa.) Central Dauphin power forward Devin Thomas (6-foot-8, 235 pounds) told Blue White Illustrated on Friday that the Nittany Lions, along with Wake Forest and Temple, comprise his top three choices.
"I'll say my top three is Penn State, Wake Forest and Temple. Those three," he said.
According to Thomas, his relationship with Chambers began while Chambers was still the head coach at Boston and was one of the first to offer Thomas. Having changed positions to the Penn State head job, Chambers has maintained the relationship with Thomas.
"We already had a relationship before he went to Penn State. I talked to him when he was at BU and he offered me," Thomas said. "When I went for an unofficial visit in June, I actually got to sit down and talk to him. I like his personality. I like the coaching staff.
"My mom likes him too. If they make my mom happy, then I'm happy."
After a busy summer schedule full of camps and AAU tournaments, Thomas' offers list has jumped from five all the way up to 21.
Other schools vying for Thomas' attention include Marquette, George Washington, and UMass, who he says are all recruiting him the hardest.
Thomas said that he has set an official visit for the weekend the Nittany Lions take on Alabama in football on Sept. 10 at Beaver Stadium.
"They're going to have me come up for my official when they play Alabama. I'm excited. I can't wait," he said. "I'm thinking I'll take two or three (official visits). Penn State, Wake Forest and Temple probably (will get officials)."
Among the factors that Thomas says will play a role in his final decision, which he plans to make in time for the early signing period in October, is location. That said, Thomas noted that the distance to the farthest of his three contenders, Wake Forest, is still manageable.
"I kind of do want to stay close to home. Wake Forest, we went down there and it's not that far. It's only like 6 1/2 hours. I like the coaching staff there too. And, they made my mom happy, so I'm happy."
Thomas averaged 21.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game last season for an upstart 20-7 Central Dauphin squad that took second place in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth Conference.