After putting in the hard work to lose a significant amount of weight, Elijah Thomas, at nearly 6’9″ and 235 pounds, has seen his game and recruitment take off. With soft hands, a strong upper body, good feet, a fundamentally sound low-post game, a relatively soft touch, and a competitive streak on both ends of the court, the young, Dallas-area wide body was a force to deal with at the 16-and-under level for Nike Team Texas this summer.
While he suffered some tendinitis earlier in the year, by the time of the Nike Peach Jam in July, he had recovered and was ready to impress. At that prestigious event, Eli turned in some dominating performances, including one where he registered 35 points, 20 rebounds, and four blocks. Duke Assistant Coach Jeff Capel, who helped develop NBA All-Star Blake Griffin at Oklahoma, was front and center to watch this young big man compete.
In both AAU (with Nike Team Texas) and in high school ball with Rockwall High School in suburban Dallas, Elijah plays with combo guard and friend Austin Grandstaff. They were named co-newcomers of the year for their district of Texas. In addition to working on traditional basketball skills, Eli and Austin have worked together with trainer Tyler Relph to improve their strength and conditioning, which Eli, a friend of incoming Duke guard Matt Jones, credits for improving his stamina in games. The Texas duo will soon visit Duke.
How do you feel that you played this summer?
Well, I started off a little slow because I had growth tendinitis in my knees. So, I was playing hurt.
How is that now?
Oh, it’s completely fine now. I got some help for it. I went to therapy for it. The therapy helped me to work it out and now it’s fine now. Then, we played in the Peach Jam.
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