Name: Aaron Thomas
Weight: 195 lbs
Twitter Handle: @aaronthomas513 (FWIW: He hasn’t tweeted since December ’12)
2012-13 Season Stats: 6.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 18.6 mpg
Prognostication: I don’t mean to set such high (and sort of unrealistic) expectations by saying this, but I see a lot of former Georgia Tech wing Iman Shumpert in Aaron Thomas. No, he’s not anywhere near the defensive behemoth that Shump has become, but Thomas is an explosive athlete with a well-rounded skill set, whose confidence shows not only in his game, but in every word out of his mouth. As a Freshman, Thomas started the Seminoles last 11 (out of his 12 starts on the season) games of the season, as he was considered one of Coach Leonard Hamilton’s strongest leaders, a role he’ll undoubtedly play again as a Sophomore.
Strengths: Leadership isn’t always synonymous with talent, but fortunately for the ‘Noles, Thomas showed tremendous upside as a first year player. Although you’ll be reading about his shooting ability in the next portion of this profile, Thomas averaged 16.3 points per game over the first three game stretch of the season where he saw extensive playing time. An explosive athlete, Thomas was one of the most active players off the ball last season, and excels at getting to the basket and finding himself bunnies. Thomas’s ability to step right in and defend the toughest wings in the ACC earned him his spot in the starting line-up, and I would expect to see him step up and be a defensive specialist for Florida State this season.
Weaknesses: Obviously if everything about Thomas was Shumpert-esque we’d be talking about an NBA rookie not a second-year Seminole. A confident player who very rarely looks for his shot, Thomas put up a disappointing .220 shooting percentage from three, and often looked like he had no interest in shooting the ball. Thomas was held scoreless in 3 of the 11 starts that he made at the end of the season, which you could contribute to Ian Miller’s hampered performances, or FSU’s lack of a point guard presence to get the offense moving. Either way, it wasn’t pretty.
Prediction for 2013-14: I know I was supposed to say this in my prognostication, but I really wanted to say positive things about Thomas. I think he has a lot of potential to be an integral role player for this team this season, but with guys like Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Devon Bookert, and Montay Brandon all looking like viable wing options for Hamilton, it’s feasible that Thomas finds himself the odd man out. However, if one of those players slips, Thomas will be ready to contribute however he’s needed to.
If you’re interested in College Basketball snobs who constantly complain about the Knicks, Jay-Z, and the state of rap music, follow Jared on twitter at @JMintzHoops