2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11
2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11

Nike Hoop Summit Player Profile: Adonis Thomas

March 25, 2011

Adonis Thomas is one of four two-time USA gold medalists on the roster for the USA in 2011 Nike Hoop Summit and one of five team members named as a 2011 Gatorade State Player of the Year. He earned his recognition from Gatorade after averaging a double-double of 21.8 points and 11.2 rebounds to go with his 1.4 blocks per game this past season, leading Melrose High School in Tennessee to a 27-8 record and the Class 3A Region 8 finals. Off the court, his 3.62 GPA and community service also helped the versatile forward to collect the honor.

At 6-7, Thomas spent much of his time in the post for Melrose, but the athletic forward said he expects to play more on the perimeter for the University of Memphis in 2011-12, and as a result he is currently focused on his ball handling and shooting.

Selected to play alongside eight of his U.S. teammates in the 2011 Jordan Brand Classic All-Star Game on April 16 in Charlotte, N.C., Thomas also will take the floor in the 2011 McDonaldís All-American Game on March 30 in Chicago, Ill., again with eight of his Hoop Summit team members.

The McDonaldís festivities begin next week, and you can see for yourself the nine U.S. players participating, some of whom will compete in the Powerade Jam Fest on Monday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2 and all of whom will play in the McDonaldís All-American game on Wednesday, March 30 at 10:00 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN. Thomas will suit up alongside USA Nike Hoop Summit Team members Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers and Marquis Teague for the West Team, while the East Team features Brad Beal, Rakeem Christmas, Quinn Cook, Michael Gilchrist and James McAdoo.

Before you tune into the game, hear from Thomas himself. Recently, USABasketball.com caught up with Thomas to talk with him about his international basketball experience, the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit and the next level as a Memphis Tiger.

Are you looking forward to reconnecting with your USA teammates?
Yeah, it should be a lot of fun. Weíve played a lot of games together, with USA Basketball, AAU and other camps and stuff.

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What do you expect to face from the World Team in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit?
I know with the guys who play with their 19-and-under national teams, a lot of those guys are playing in the pros, so they are going to be even more tough and competitive than the 17-and-under teams we played last year at the World Championship. I expect them to be strong, fast and smart.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered while playing international basketball?
Basically, how physical the game was. Overseas a lot of times you expected to get calls that you wouldnít get, calls you would get back in the states. You have to play through a lot of things like that and you have to be stronger and tougher.

What do you think of international rules? Is there an international rule youíd like to see the high school game adopt?
I had fun playing under international rules. Some of them were easier than others. The 10-minute quarters, that made the game go by really fast. As far as the shot clock, I know Iíll have to get used to it playing college basketball, so that was one thing I enjoyed.

I think they should use a shot clock in high school basketball. Sometimes itís unfair Ė stalling with the ball. It should come down to having to grind it out and play basketball.

What made Memphis a good fit for you?
Just the chemistry with the team. Half the team is from Memphis, and half the team I played AAU with over the summer time. Coach Pastner, heís a really good coach. Iím familiar with him; he was recruiting me before he was the head coach. Heís always checking on me and looking out for me and making sure Iím doing alright in the classroom. And the fast pace of Memphis basketball, getting up and down the court, I think that fits my style pretty well.

What is your favorite training routine or drill?
Right now, Iím getting ready for college, so Iím really working on my outside shot. In high school I was the second tallest person on the team, so I had to play the post all four years. Now, Iím working on playing a two or three on the wing, so Iím doing a lot of shooting. Iím working on a lot of ball handling, coming off screens.

So, you definitely expect to move more to the perimeter in college?
Yeah, I think I will play some two and three guard and maybe the four position. If we want to go small and create match-up problems, he might put me at the four.

What is your least favorite training routine or drill?
Weightlifting is hard. Thatís about the hardest thing I do, but I know I have to lift to be strong.

Where is the most room for improvement in your game?
My ball handling is always improving Ė Iím always working on that Ė but lately itís been about improving my outside shot. I know I havenít taken as many shots as all these high school guards have, and thatís an area I really want to get better at before I get to college. I want to be able to knock down shots consistently and to create my own shot off of the dribble.

What helps you stay motivated?
Basically just knowing that there are other guys wanting to compete and do the same things Iím doing. Iím always aware that somebody wants to take my spot, so I have to come out and get better every day.

How did it feel to wrap up your prep career?
We lost in the game to get to the state tournament, and the team we lost to won the state tournament. It was kind of surprising knowing that I didnít get to the state tournament in my senior year. That was a big expectation for me coming into the season as a senior Ė that we were going back-to-back. Last year we won the state title, and we wanted to get it again. After it was all over, I was just surprised that itís been four years, and Iím finally done. Now itís time to get ready for college basketball.