Adonis Thomas, arguably the key prospect the Tennessee men's basketball team is pursuing in the Class of 2011, has scheduled his official visit with the Vols for this weekend.
Thomas, who plays at Melrose High School in Memphis, cut the list of schools he's considering to six while at the Mobile Boost Elite 24 all-star game in Venice Beach, Calif., on Aug. 28.
The Vols, along with Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Memphis and UCLA, made the cut.
"One of the things we like about Tennessee is Coach (Bruce) Pearl relates well to his players,'' said Eric Thomas, Adonis' 6-foot-8 father and a former collegiate basketball player who led Central Missouri in rebounding in 1991-92.
"Each player comes into a program with different situations and abilities, and just by looking at the strategies (Pearl) has used with other players, I think he can get a lot more out of kids than just a straight Xs and Os coach,'' he said. "Bruce has a system, but he lets his players make plays.''
Adonis Thomas, a 6-foot-6 forward ranked No. 15 overall in the Class of 2011 by Rivals.com, has the versatility to score from all over the floor.
"He can also guard guys from 5-11 to 6-8, and one of the things I instilled in him and all of the guys I coached was to be able to handle the ball,'' said Eric Thomas, who coached his son in the youth ranks. "I told him you never know when you'll stop growing.''
Adonis Thomas' stock is growing after he averaged 19.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, three blocks and 3.5 assists per game at Melrose last season. Thomas also scored 20 points as his AAU team, the Memphis Magic, finished runners-up in the adidas Super 64 AAU tournament in Las Vegas in July.
Eric Thomas said proximity won't necessarily be a factor in his son's choice of schools.
"UCLA is 22 hours away, Memphis is five minutes away and Tennessee is five hours away,'' he said. "It's going to come down to what is the best fit for Adonis.''
Eric Thomas also said the high-pressure techniques sometimes used in West Tennessee to keep players in Memphis will not be a factor.
"If that were the case, he'd already be (committed) to Memphis,'' Thomas said with a laugh. "We can't live off what other people think is best, especially here in Memphis.''
But the Tigers remain as active in Adonis Thomas' recruitment as any of the other finalists.
The Vols have a verbal commitment from Chris Jones (Class of 2011), who was Thomas' teammate at Melrose before transferring to Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy this summer.
Adonis Thomas has attended UT's elite basketball camp twice, but last summer he was in Germany playing in the FIBA U17 world championships where he averaged 8.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as the U.S. won the gold.
Pearl, it's worth noting, flew to Germany to see Thomas play.
Saturday, it's the Thomas family coming to tour the Tennessee campus and visit with Pearl.