Kansas BasketballRecruit Talk

Recruit Talk No. 1: Stephen Zimmerman and Elijah Thomas

Editor’s Note: Recruit Talk is a new interview series with @RecruitHawk and some of the nation’s top recruits. Stay tuned for more interviews!

This edition features Stephen Zimmerman and Elijah Thomas.

Stephen Zimmerman is a 6-foot-11, 215 lb center from Las Vegas, Nevada. Currently ranked as the No. 2 center in 2015 and No. 5 player overall, according to ESPN.


Elijah Thomas is a 6-foot-9, 230 lb power forward from Rockwall, Texas. Currently ranked as No. 3 power forward in 2015 and No. 6 player overall according to ESPN.

@RecruitHawk: How’s adidas Nations been?

Stephen Zimmerman: Nations was awesome, as always. The gym was packed with the best players in the country. You have to bring your “A” game to compete with those guys. It was great to build relationships with players that will be playing with or against you throughout your career. To get advice from the coaches and people that have been where you wanna be is so useful and a rare experience.


@RecruitHawk: Why didn’t you go to adidas Nations?

Elijah Thomas: I had a tournament with my team in Kansas.


@RecruitHawk: How was that tournament?

Elijah Thomas: It was fun good team experience we had so much fun.


@RecruitHawk: How did your team do? And were you just in KC?

Elijah Thomas: Yes, this weekend. We did good. It was just games for us. We didn’t do a tournament.


@RecruitHawk: How did you do personally? Did you drop any big stat lines?

Elijah Thomas: I don’t remember stats. However, I did what I had to go to get my team some wins.


@RecruitHawk: Who’s the best player you have gone up against?

Stephen Zimmerman: Best player I faced was Jahlil Okafor


@RecruitHawk: When you play in events like adidas Nations, what is your biggest takeaway?

Stephen Zimmerman: Just playing against and with the top class competition and the relationships.

Elijah Thomas: That if my team moves the ball, we will be unstoppable because there’s so many scoring threats.


@RecruitHawk: What’s the biggest part of your game you want to work on this summer?

Elijah Thomas: Athleticism , overall approach of being a scorer, pushing the ball and being a overall leader

Stephen Zimmerman: Ball handling and being more aggressive.


@RecruitHawk: With so many people doing package deals, do you think there is anyone you would package with?

Elijah Thomas: No. I’m my own person. At this point, anything could change though!

Stephen Zimmerman: I don’t know about the package deal. I’m not ready to even think about college yet, much less picking someone to go to college with. But you never know what’s gonna happen two years from now.


@RecruitHawk: What if I told you I asked Thomas Bryant the same question. He happened to say that he would like to be in a package deal with you (Elijah Thomas) or Stephen Zimmerman.

Elijah Thomas: That’s a good combo. We are all friends so that’s something to take into consideration. (laughs)


@RecruitHawk: With school and basketball going on, what is the recruiting process like?

Stephen Zimmerman: My parents handle the recruiting process. I focus on attending school and playing basketball. It keeps things as normal as possible.

Elijah Thomas: It is going well! I’m getting close to having an 4.0 GPA and that’s my overall goal! Recruiting is fine because I don’t pay that much attention to the process… I just play (laughs).


@RecruitHawk: Which schools contact you the most?

Elijah Thomas: The ones that stick out the most are Duke, Kansas, Florida, Ohio State, Indiana, Georgetown, Michigan, SMU, Texas A&M, Arizona, USC, Stanford, Texas, Baylor, UConn and N.C. State.


@RecruitHawk: I’m curious as to why Kentucky isn’t on that list….

Elijah Thomas: Kentucky isn’t for everyone. They haven’t shown that much interest in awhile. They have a really great school, I must say. And their staff is fun.


@RecruitHawk: Do you have a top five?

Stephen Zimmerman: I have no top five. I’m wide open.

Elijah Thomas: Not yet! (Laughs)


@RecruitHawk: What do you like about Kansas?

Stephen Zimmerman: I like Coach Self and his history with bigs. I really like KU’s reputation as being a contender and an established basketball school.

Elijah Thomas: Rich tradition! The coaching staff… (Coach) Self has a funny personality. [Lawrence] is cool, fans are very active, the games are loud and they have a great environment.


@RecruitHawk: How do you see yourself fitting into the system at Kansas?

Stephen Zimmerman: I’m a big and they have a long history of successful bigs.

Elijah Thomas: They like players that can score. That’s what I do. I score the ball from anywhere with both hands (laughs). They will develop my game, so that’s the most important thing (to me).


@RecruitHawk: How does Andrew Wiggins commitment change KU recruiting in your opinion?

Stephen Zimmerman: It doesn’t because they’ve always been able to get great talent. Great coach plus great program equals great recruits. By the way, KU offered me like two years ago.

Elijah Thomas: It’s a 50/50 thing and mainly an opinion.  Wilt Chamberlain went there, aka THE GOAT (greatest of all time). They have always been known for bagging top players.


@RecruitHawk: Who is your best NBA comparison, in your opinion, if you had to choose?

Stephen Zimmerman: I wouldn’t compare myself to just one player, I wanna be a mixture of some of the best.


@RecruitHawk: You gonna come visit this year?

Elijah Thomas: (Laughs). Most definitely!

Daniel Cunningham

Rock Chalk Blog recruiting expert. Co-host of the Inside the Paint podcast. twitter.com/dc4213

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