Despite experiencing an up and down freshman season marred with inconsistency, Ibrahima Thomas
comes into this upcoming campaign with some solid playing time and experience underneath his belt, which is exactly what he needed considering his background.
Showing great size at 6-11, with an outstanding wingspan, Thomas is always going to catch peoples attention when he first steps foot on the court. He is about 20-30 pounds from his optimal weight, though, and is not what you would call a very fluid athlete at this point, looking a bit clumsy and uncoordinated the way raw African prospects at times do. His hands are just average and he doesnt have very much to speak of in the ways of his footwork around the basket.
Whats interesting about Thomas is that he shows an intriguing skill-level facing the basket, being capable of knocking down shots with a pretty nice looking stroke, good enough to hit 11 3-pointers in his freshman season, at an inconsistent 32% clip. This is a nice asset for a player his size to have, but he should not fall in love with it, as he tended to do at times rushing up bad shots immediately once he caught the ball on the perimeter, which led to some very awkward misses in which he did not even draw iron.
As the season progressed, Thomas did a better job of contributing to Oklahoma State, in small doses. He showed some sparks of potential posting up aggressively and knocking down short hook shots and turn-around jumpers inside. Nothing incredible, but enough to show that he is making progress and is willing to use his size and touch to get his team high percentage shots. His timing, decision making skills and all-around offensive polish obviously have a long ways to go, but there may be some room for optimism based on the early results. He showed a pretty decent knack for crashing the offensive glass as well.
On the negative side, Thomas showed very little in the ways of passing ability, turning the ball over five times for every assist he dished out, and only shot a mediocre 58% from the free throw line. He wasnt much of a shot-blocking presence at all (just 1.1 per 40 minutes), and was incredibly foul prone, averaging 7.1 fouls per-40 on the season. He needs to work on his body to maximize as much of his athleticism as he can (hes fairly average in this regard), as well as his hands to make him at least somewhat of a consistent threat to catch the ball and finish inside.
Thomas cant be viewed as anything less than a 4-year prospect at this point in time until he manages to show otherwise, but he will get some looks regardless because of his size, length and budding perimeter skills. The type of work ethic he displays will likely determine how far he is able to make it in professional basketball. Hes playing catch-up right now and has a lot of ground to make up.