The Tennessee men's basketball program made the cut in the competition for the services of Memphis Melrose standout Adonis Thomas.
Thomas, ranked as a five-star, top-10 small forward prospect in Class of 2011 by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, announced UT as one of his six finalists on Saturday at the Mobile Boost Elite 24.
The other five schools he's considering are Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Memphis and UCLA.
“The thing to know about Adonis is that, first and foremost, he's a great person and a model citizen,'' said Jermaine Johnson, Thomas' coach at Melrose. “He brings a lot of versatility to the court, as he can play multiple positions.''
Thomas, 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, was in Venice Beach, Calif., this weekend to compete in the outdoor all-star event.
Last summer, Thomas served as a captain and starter on the Team USA U-17 squad that went 8-0 and captured the gold medal at the FIBA world championships in Hamburg, Germany.
It probably wasn't a coincidence that Vols head coach Bruce Pearl made his first recruiting trip of the summer overseas to attend that tournament.
Johnson said Thomas' recruitment has been a whirlwind, with schools from all over the nation involved.
“It's been overwhelming, and he had 15 schools he was considering before cutting down the list,'' Johnson said. “Adonis has been a winner all of his life. His 8-under team took second in (AAU) nationals. Last year they (Memphis Magic) won adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas and they took second this summer.''
Thomas - who's also a candidate to be valedictorian of his class – has attended UT camp on two occasions.
Tennessee has a verbal commitment in the Class of 2011 from guards Kevin Ware (Rockdale County, Ga.) and Chris Jones, a former teammate of Thomas' at Melrose.
Jones transferred to Oak Ridge Military Academy in North Carolina after completing his third year of high school on account of a Tennessee rule that doesn't allow 19-year-olds to compete.
“Chris is still a part of our family,'' Johnson said. “We're considering retiring his jersey. His transformation at Melrose was incredible.''