Wright State’s 2014 recruiting class became complete Wednesday, and the final piece of the puzzle was a bit of a surprise.
Thurgood Marshall graduate Joe Thomasson Jr., a 6-foot-4 guard, said he was signing with the Raiders. Thomasson originally signed with Wright State in November 2011, but he failed to meet NCAA academic requirements.
When that news came out in June 2012, coach Billy Donlon said he could see Thomasson playing for Wright State after two years at a junior college.
“We will certainly continue to recruit him,” Donlon said. “Absolutely.”
That’s what happened. Thomasson Jr. averaged 15.4 points last season at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Mo. He verbally committed to Oklahoma State this summer but said he withdrew the commitment when Oklahoma State signed a couple of players after him.
Thomasson said he never really left Wright State, and Donlon and his staff never stopped recruiting him.
“A lot of schools offered me,” he said. “Wright State is probably 20 minutes from my home. Me and Coach Donlon and Coach (Chris) Moore, we’ve got a great relationship. They’ve been recruiting me since I was a senior in high school. They just trust and believe in me. They never lost faith in me, even when I committed to Oklahoma State.
The chance to be close to his 2-year-old son, Joe Thomasson III, was another big reason he wanted to come home to play his final two years of college basketball.
“I got a good supporting cast around me,” Thomasson said. “My parents, my brother and sisters, uncles. I’ve got great people that surround me and provide support for me and my son. They’re not only there financially, but socially. My girlfriend is a great mom.”
Thomasson blamed himself for what happened in 2012.
“It had nothing to do with Wright State,” he said. “It was miscommunication on both ends. I was young. I wasn’t taking high school seriously. I thought I’d be on scholarship and automatically enrolled in school.”
Thomasson Jr. said when he found out he wouldn’t get into Wright State, Moore helped him with his decision to attend State Fair. It was a tough decision leaving the Dayton area because his son was still a newborn.
“Once I found out I didn’t get enrolled, I probably had 1,000 JUCO offers in the same day,” Thomasson Jr. said. “(Moore) knew (State Fair) Coach (Kevin) Thomas. He trusted in his system. He told me the best move would be to go to Sedalia.”
Three players who had verbally committed to the Raiders signed in the last week: Grant Benzinger, a 6-2 guard from Cincinnati Moeller; Grant Evans, a 6-3 guard from Wapahani, Ind.; and Justin Mitchell, a 6-4 guard from Wayne High School in Fort Wayne, Ind.