March 14, 2012

RSJ getting it done on the field and the court

From the moment Ricky Seals-Jones first set foot on the football field as a freshman safety for the Sealy Tigers, it was evident he was a special talent. Even when you go all the way back to his pee-wee and middle school days, there was a thought that he had a certain kind of potential.

It did not take long for his talents to be discovered and by the time he made his commitment to Texas in February of 2012, every major college football program in the country was hot on his trail.

Of course, football coaches were not the only ones hot on his trail. Just as he has been on the football field, Seals-Jones has been a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court and basketball coaches were also in hot pursuit.

He was named district MVP as a freshman and a sophomore, and following the 2011-12 season that saw Sealy finish 23-7 and Ricky Seals-Jones average 32.3 points and 15.2 rebounds a game he took home another one.

AAU basketball coach Eric Thomas knows Seals-Jones game as well as anyone and has been working with him since the eighth grade, seeing him both at his best and his worst. There is no doubt Thomas believes he has what it would take to make the leap to the college basketball level.

"He could play college basketball if he really wanted to," Thomas said. "I know he's a top guy in football, but he could play college basketball too."

And not just any college basketball, but high major basketball.

"If he wasn't one of the top players in football he could go to any college he wants to play basketball," Thomas said. "He can go to any college he wants to play football and he can go to any college he wants to play basketball."

As a matter of fact, Thomas is willing to stack Seals-Jones against anyone in the country.

"Ricky is a top 6 - top 7 basketball player," Thomas said. "The (Harrison) twins, maybe Julius Randle, and those are the only players I would rank ahead of him. We're playing in a tournament this weekend and there will be some national guys from Rivals and ESPN and wherever. He's dominated every competition we've played."

"We've played at the very highest level," Thomas added. "We've played teams out of Atlanta with guys who are going to ACC schools and no one has had an answer for him."

On the basketball court, just like on the football field, the one flaw people have comes in regard to his position. He is big, athlete and breaks a lot of molds. On the football field that has led to questions about whether he could play receiver or would he have to move to tight end or even play defense. On the basketball court some consider him to be tweene, stuck between small forward and power forward, but not coach Thomas.

"The thing about him is he is just so hard to guard. He's 6-5/6-6 but still he's too strong for the smaller guys and too quick for the bigger guys," Thomas said. "He plays the three for us. He's so tall in the paint that we keep him in the four but he can play the three. He could easily play basketball at Texas as far as what they have if he chooses. He could be a high major."

Thomas is not the only one who thought Seals-Jones could play high level college ball. Virginia Commonwealth, Memphis, and LSU are just a sampling of the schools hot on his trail before he gave his commitment to the Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns.

There is no doubt about it though, he is a great talent and more importantly a strong leader.

"He's a tremendous leader. He does whatever his coach wants," Thomas said. "They'll see when he gets up to Texas that he's the first in line leading every drill and encouraging teammates. He's pretty much a coach's dream. He never talks negatively about his teammates. He's always lifting his teammates up. Those are just things you can't teach. He's a great athlete but he's also a great person. Texas got a good deal."

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