July 26, 2014

The Pony Express

McQuaid talks about de-commitment

Last week four-star Duncanville shooting guard Matthew McQuaid dropped the second bombshell of the month on the Mustangs when he decided to de-commit from SMU.

McQuaid has not ruled out a return to SMU but decided that he rushed into his decision in the spring.

"I just wanted to take a step back, compare my coaches a little bit more," McQuaid said. "I want to make sure that I'm making the right decision for four years."

While many have wondered if McQuaid made his decision because of the commitment of Virginia Tech transfer Ben Emelogu to SMU, McQuaid said emphatically, "That had nothing to do with it."

"I just want to make sure I make the right decision," McQuaid said. "I only took one visit (besides to SMU) and that was to Creighton so I just want to be sure I'm doing the right thing."

A source close to the SMU basketball team told PonyPride that the coaching staff spoke with McQuaid's father, Rob, before Emelogu committed and Rob McQuaid was "fine with it." The source said the de-commitment "shocked" the SMU coaching staff.

Since his announcement, Indiana, LSU, Creighton, North Carolina, Virginia and SMU have contacted McQuaid. All of those schools were in attendance to watch McQuaid and Team Texas Elite at the Las Vegas Classic on Friday.

McQuaid ended the interview by saying SMU was "absolutely still in it."

Elijah Thomas updates recruitment

Finally back from his wrist injury, five-star center Elijah Thomas is happy to be back playing basketball again.

"It feels good," Thomas said about his wrist. "I been working hard trying to get myself back in shape before the end of the summer."

Watching Thomas at the Las Vegas Classic it was clear that he was not back to the form that earned him the eleventh spot on Rivals' list for 2015. Every so often, though, he would show flashes of the dominant player that can control the game on both ends of the court with smooth post moves and big blocks.

Though the NCAA no-contact period is in effect right now, Thomas said the conversations he had with the SMU staff beforehand had been "pretty normal."

"Same old, same old I guess," Thomas said. "Just keep working hard, just keep pushing myself, asking how my family's doing, how I'm doing."

In March Thomas cut his list of schools to ten: SMU, Florida, Illinois, Memphis, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Texas, UNLV and USC. Larry Brown and assistants Ulric Maligi and K.T. Turner were at the tournament to watch Thomas and Team Texas Elite on Friday, along with coaches from Illinois, Memphis, Ohio State, Texas and USC.

Soon Thomas will cut his down further.

"I'll cut my list down to five at the end of this tournament, like two weeks after," Thomas told PonyPride. "Those five will be where I take my official visits."

Thomas said that Illinois, Oklahoma State and SMU have been recruiting him the hardest.

With AAU season almost over, Thomas is preparing for his senior year at Lancaster.

"When I get home I'm going to take a week's rest and get myself in the best shape I can be," Thomas said.

Roach picks up SMU offer, to cut list at end of weekend

With Matt McQuaid now on the open market again, SMU is looking for another shooting guard for the 2015 class.

On Thursday, SMU assistants Tim Jankovich and Ulric Maligi were at the Las Vegas Fab 48 to watch three-star Kerwin Roach, who picked up an SMU offer on Friday.

Roach, who is going to be cutting his list of schools down to ten at the end of the weekend, described his interest-level in SMU as "medium."

"They got Larry Brown, he's a legendary coach. They got the hottest ticket sales," Roach told PonyPride when asked why he liked SMU. "They sell out every game so that's pretty good."

Brown and assistant Ulric Maligi have been handling Roach's recruitment.

"Coach Ulric is pretty cool. He was just telling me stuff about SMU," Roach said. "The academics, the sold-out stadiums, Larry Brown. They're really just ordinary people and they got NBA connections so they can help me get there."

Roach has had a strong summer showcasing his offensive game. He can score both in the lane and from distance and he flies down the court on the fastbreak.

His summer performances have led to a lot of interest for Roach.

"Summer's been going good. We (the Houston Rockstarz) been winning a lot of tournaments and my recruitment picked up a lot," Roach said. "(Texas, Kansas State,) Wichita State, TCU, Tulsa, (Texas A&M), Texas Tech and a lot of schools have offered."

After his performance Thursday, Roach received offers from Memphis, Florida State, and Marquette. Roach previously received other offers from Baylor, Rice, Houston, Cornell and Temple. He has also received interest from Arkansas.

When asked what he was looking for in a school, Roach quickly replied "academics."

"I want to be an engineer if I can't play (professionally) so that's the most important, academics," Roach said.

This summer Roach says he is working on filling out his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame and his ball-handling.

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