Thomas sacrifices personal stats for team success

As a sophomore, Ballou (Washington, D.C.) guard Donte Thomas averaged 26.3 points a game, the highest scoring average for public-school athletes in the District of Columbia and fourth highest among all D.C. metro-area prep players.

As a junior, Thomas has helped the Knights compile a 14-6 record so far in the competitive DCIAA conference. Thomas is averaging 22 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds for coach Jenkins Dormu.

"Donte is scoring a little less this year because we are playing him at the point guard more," Dormu told ESPNRISE.com. "Last year we had a senior point guard, so Donte played the 2, and frankly, we needed Donte to be a big scorer last year. This year we added a couple of new players, we got some good big kids [like 6-8 sophomore] Marquis Gentry, so Donte doesn't have to score as much."

Thomas earned first-team all-DCIAA East Division honors and honorable mention All-Met in the Washington Post as a sophomore in 2007-08.

"Donte's No. 1 ability, in my opinion, is his ability to pass the ball," Dormu added. "He has great court vision; he can really see the floor."

Thomas is a strong, athletic guard at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds. Because Thomas just turned 16, Dormu said he thinks the junior might still grow to 6-5, possibly 6-6.

Thomas increased his national recruiting exposure last spring and summer during the school's offseason with his fine play on the AAU teams D.C. Assault Gold and God's Glory.

"It really pushed up his college recruiting exposure," said Dormu. "He started hearing more from national schools, schools outside the D.C. area. They are all watching how he develops as a point guard. They all know he has talent. Because he is so young for his class, a lot of schools are kind of watching his development and maturity and evaluating him as a point guard and wing guard."

Georgia Tech, NC State and New Mexico State are just a few of the schools that have expressed interest in Thomas, according to Dormu.

Dormu said he has no doubt that Thomas can be an elite Division I guard for the Class of 2010. In the meantime, Thomas might be able to help Dormu and Ballou capture a couple of DCIAA Championships in 2009 and 2010.

James Quinn covers high school basketball for MDVarsity.com