Florida’s recruiting board might be going through a major change as there is some significant buzz that a key point guard target in 2024 will be reclassifying to the 2023 class.
Dedan Thomas, an electric point guard from Henderson, Nevada, has been one of Todd Golden’s top targets since coming to Gainesville. Multiple of Florida’s staff members travelled across the country from Florida to see him in person in Nevada, and Thomas had made it known that he was planning on visiting the University Of Florida campus later in the fall.
Of course, Florida was recruiting him for the 2024 class, but with significant interest from a number elite programs the buzz has started that Thomas might reclassify to the 2023 class.
One of the biggest attributes to Thomas’ game is his maturity as a floor general, and considering his reputation as one of the highest IQ and best passing point guards in the class you can see why he could think he is ready to enter college a year earlier than expected. The 6’1”, 170 pound Thomas is a blur in transition that can either fire frozen rope lazers to cutters for layups or get all the way to the rim for smooth finger rolls and crafty reverse finishes. In the half court he loves to operate out of the pick and roll, bouncing passes to bigs to finish for dunks or manipulating defenders with his eyes before hitting a skip pass to the corner to a wide open shooter.
Currently ranked 38th in the class of 2024, Thomas has offers from Florida, Arizona, Houston, and Gonzaga–all of which are programs he is planning on taking visits to. The G League ignite program has also expressed interest which could make his recruitment a lot more interesting for all parties involved.
UNLV will also be in the mix as Thomas’ father, Dedan Thomas Sr., was a star for the Runnin’ Rebels back in the day.
If Thomas were to reclassify to the 2023 class it’s not exactly clear which program recruiting him would benefit the most. Florida is set to graduate their (projected, but almost certain) starting point guard in Kyle Lofton which would open up a lot of minutes. VMI transfer Trey Bonham, whose size and game has some similarities to Thomas, would be the oldest remaining guard, but Florida’s staff could certainly see the highly ranked Thomas as someone who could wrestle away the starting role. It’s not clear if Florida is one of the teams that is pitching a reclassification to him, but if he’s thinking it’s something he wants to do the Gators will have to oblige.
It is worth noting that reclassification has been a very dangerous game for point guards in recent history with it working out negatively a lot more times than it has worked out positively. This story can even be demonstrated with a few Florida targets in recent years.
On the positive side there was Andrew Nembhard who reclassified to join the Gators a year early. He was able to provide considerable minutes right away, and his basketball IQ and size helped the transition. However, a couple of Florida targets that the Gators backed off on due to their desire to reclassify weren’t so lucky.
You might remember the name Carter Whitt, whose flashy passing drew comparisons to Jason Williams when the Gators were recruiting him. When he expressed a desire to reclassify the Gators, who didn’t think he was ready right away, stopped recruiting him. He ended up going to Clemson where he went through some major growing pains, and ultimately transferred to Furman.
This was also the case with Carson McCorkle who chose to enter college a year early which changed his recruiting ranking from near-five star status to a three-star status when he went to Virginia a year earlier than originally classified.
Once again, growing pains. And now he has transferred to Wofford.
The point guard position is very difficult to play in college, and it’s difficult for all young players to step into that position–especially when they enter college a year early.
Of course, when it comes to elite players like Dedan Thomas, perhaps you don’t have to be as worried. There might be some cause for concern with the track record of reclassified point guards, and Dedan Thomas isn’t particularly physically imposing at 6’1” and 170 pounds to step into a high major game right away, but clearly enough coaches have expressed interest in him reclassifying to make it a story.
By the time he makes his visit to Gainesville (date hasn’t yet been set, but he said it would be in the fall) hopefully we will know more about his desire to reclassify or stay in the class of 2024. No matter what happens, the Gators will certainly remain in the mix for his services.