Section 7, put on by the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association, is objectively one of the most impressive, expansive summer high school tournaments in the country. It was held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, over Father’s Day weekend and Pro Insight was on hand to cover the event. In between games, we caught up with DJ Thomas, the talented guard out of Liberty High School (NV), who also plays for the Oakland Soldiers (CA) on the Nike EYBL circuit. Throughout the event, Thomas highlighted his natural feel for the game, elite court vision, and two-way ability in front of hundreds of college coaches.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Thomas touched on his background, pros he likes to watch, his recruitment update, his off-court personality and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect DJ Thomas, from Las Vegas, Nevada:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background.
DJ Thomas: My name is Dedan Thomas, Jr. I go by DJ. I’m from Las Vegas, Nevada. I go to Liberty High School and I’m a freshman going into my sophomore season.
PI: Any athletes in the family?
DT: Well, all of us are athletes. I’ve got my twin little sister and brother, they’re 10 years old. They’re starting to play basketball. Tyus [younger brother], he’s starting to grow up and get better. He’s going to be in 8th grade. My dad played at UNLV from ‘91-94, he played for Coach Jerry Tarkanian.
PI: Your dad has been coaching you for a bit — what type of advice has he shared with you?
DT: So he just told me to keep working hard and ignore the rankings, all of that stuff doesn’t really matter. It’ll all come and just to keep working.
PI: Describe your game — what are your strengths?
DT: My IQ, getting everyone involved, and people don’t really know I can score the ball when I want to, but I really love to get my teammates involved.
PI: Where does your PG feel come from?
DT: All from my dad. All of it. He was a PG in college so he just taught me everything he knew.
PI: What are some areas of improvement?
DT: I’ve been improving on my defense a lot. Like over the past couple months I’ve been seeing the difference with my defense, forcing more turnovers and stuff.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game?
DT: Probably scoring. Yeah, I think it’s scoring because sometimes I can be too passive and not be as aggressive. I need to be more aggressive, sometimes.
PI: What’s the update with your recruitment?
DT: I’ve got offers from UNLV, Washington State...there have been other colleges recruiting me like Arizona...UCLA called me a couple weeks ago, Stanford has been in contact with me, and Houston. Houston has been coming to some of my recent games.
PI: What are you looking for in a school of choice?
DT: I just want to feel at home, just want to be comfortable wherever I choose.
PI: Describe your on vs. off court personality.
DT: On the court, just a floor general and sometimes I’ll get on my teammates, but I Iove them all. Off the court, I’m very goofy and I can be annoying sometimes [smiles]. I just annoy my teammates, but we’ll all laugh it off and stuff [smiles].
PI: Are there any players you model your game after?
DT: I mean I don’t really model my game after anyone in particular, but I take parts of players' games here and there. So Kyrie Irving, I’ll take some of his stuff. Damian Lillard. I watch a lot of Chris Paul, I really like him. I’d say those are the three main guys I watch a lot.
PI: What are four words that describe you?
DT: Smart. Goofy. Loud [sometimes]. Fast.