April 5, 2012

Interview with Chipola coach Pat Blake

With Chris Thomas, a five star shooting guard from the class of 2013 and the #5 player in the Rivals150, committing to Xavier the 2013 recruiting class is off to as good of a start as possible. Thursday afternoon, just an hour after Chris Thomas committed, MusketeerScoop had the opportunity to talk with Pat Blake, the head coach of Chipola Junior College (FL). Coach Blake had several great things to say about Thomas as a player and a person.

MusketeerScoop: We all know by now that Chris Thomas decided to commit to Xavier today. Can you tell us a little bit about why he decided to make the call now, and why he chose Xavier?

Coach Blake: I think it came down to his relationship with coach (Rasheen) Davis and the job that he had done in sticking with him through the past few years, always being a consistent coach and positive influence towards him. They did a great job recruiting. Coach Mack has a great track record with guards when you look at Jordan Crawford and Tu Holloway. The type of freedom that their guards get to play with made Chris think that Xavier would be the best fit for him. We think he can really thrive there.

MusketeerScoop: When it came down to decision time who were some of the other major players?

Coach Blake: When you're rated fifth in the country by an outlet like Rivals you're going to have plenty of choices, really any school in the country, but the job coach Davis has done really made it an easy decision. It's always been Xavier as the leader and the main school, he felt it was the right time to commit.

MusketeerScoop: For people who don't know Chris there's a little bit of a bad wrap with all the moving around he's done. Can you tell us a little bit about Chris as a person and what he's been like at Chipola?

Coach Blake: From the moment he's gotten here Chris has been great, we haven't had any problems with him. He's a great kid, very outgoing, very personable, he has a great smile. I really can't touch on what's happened in the past but he's a young kid and obviously mistakes have been made but he's a great kid. The thing I love about him is the way that our players, staff, and community members enjoy him. He's very humble, he's got a great work ethic, like I said he's really outgoing and gets a long great with the teachers and the team and everyone. I think that he's really grown and the past circumstances have really matured him as a person.

MusketeerScoop: From a basketball perspective, we've all seen the highlights, we know the kid can score. Can you tell us how good he is and what he does so well?

Coach Blake: He's one of the most talented guards that I've been around. I've been at Louisville, I've been at Ole Miss, and other places in college and I think he's as unbelievable of a scorer as there is. He just finds ways to get the ball in the basket. But what I've been most impressed with his is how he makes the players around him better. He has great floor vision and really gets everyone involved. He just always makes the right basketball play whether it's taking it to the rim, pulling up, or hitting someone else for an assist. He just has an elite feel for the game and always makes the right play.

MusketeerScoop: How do you see him translating to the college level at Xavier, and then possibly even to the NBA level down the line?

Coach Blake: I think he's going to be a stud at Xavier. As long as he keeps on working like he has been and taking a great approach to his improvement then the sky is the limit for him.

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