Ferguson's road to NBA to start at FIU

Like every other college basketball player with a lick of talent, Dominique Ferguson has one goal: to play in the NBA. So when it came to picking his college, Ferguson decided to go with a coach who played, coached and evaluated talent in the NBA.

In a decision sure to stun many in the basketball community, Ferguson, rated the No. 8 rising senior in the ESPN 100, gave a verbal commitment to Florida International on Friday.

"It's just about the tremendous respect I have for Coach [Isiah] Thomas," Ferguson said. "Everybody wants to get to the next level and when you make a commitment it's about who you think can get you there. A lot of coaches can and do, but he's been there."

Adding Ferguson to the FIU roster next year counts as a huge get for Thomas, about to embark on his rookie season at the collegiate level. Ferguson, who will attend Hargrave Military Academy this year, is a 6-foot-8 power forward who is equally comfortable on the arc as at the rim.

The Indianapolis native was considering Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana and UCLA.

FIU never factored on any of his lists.

Even Ferguson contends his choice came somewhat out of left field.

"I had kind of forgotten he was coaching there," Ferguson said. "Then when we talked on the phone after they were allowed to make phone calls. Coach Thomas, his entire staff, the city, it was an easy choice for me."

In a short time, Thomas already has made inroads on the recruiting trail. He already received verbal commitments from Phil Taylor, a rising senior from Georgia who is rated as a top-40 point guard, and Chris Coleman, the No. 5-rated center in the class of 2011.

Ferguson said he plans to sign his letter of intent in November.

Dana O'Neil covers college basketball for ESPN.com and can be reached at espnoneil@live.com.