Cam Thomas came to the LSU basketball program a year ago with the intention of doing everything he could to be a one-and-done player.

That was accomplished when the 19-year-old Thomas, who led the Southeastern Conference and ranked fourth nationally with 23.0 points a game, announced on April 15 that he was putting his name in the NBA draft.

That decision should pay off handsomely Thursday night when Thomas, who trusted LSU coach Will Wade to help him get to the next level in short order, is expected to be a first-round pick in the NBA draft.

Most mock drafts have the 6-foot-4 Thomas, who played mostly as a shooting guard in helping LSU advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament this winter, going between the 20th and 26th picks in a first round that consists of 30 selections.

Two of Thomas’ LSU teammates — forward Trendon Watford and guard Javonte Smart — also declared early for the draft, but most mocks don’t include either player.

Thomas worked out for at least three teams since declaring for the draft — Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors.

It may not mean anything considering the unpredictable nature of the NBA draft, but Golden State holds the seventh and 14th picks, New York has the 19th and 21st selections and Atlanta is right between the Knicks’ two choices at No. 20.

During a teleconference after the visit and workout with the Warriors on July 14, Thomas was asked by reporters about his deep range off the dribble.

“Off the dribble, off the catch, people are really impressed by my range and how well I shoot the ball,” Thomas said. “The feedback I've been getting is that I shoot the ball really well.”

While he’s primarily a shooting guard, Thomas said he’s eager to show whatever team that drafts him that he can handle the point as well and showcase his playmaking skills — which he didn’t get much of a chance to do last season.

An NBA.com scouting report noted that he’s a natural scorer and “hunting shots as aggressively as any player in rhe country as LSU’s first option, Thomas is an instinctive three-level scorer with great footwork, versatility as a difficult shot-maker and tremendous one-on-one scoring ability.”

It added that he had the freedom and a green light in his lone season at LSU to “try and find his rhythm creating his own shot,” which should serve him well at the next level.

Because of that, NBA teams aren't likely to be scared off by Thomas' 40.6% shooting from the field last season.

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Wade, who will be in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the draft, said last week he expected Thomas to be among the top 20 players to come off the board.

“I’m excited for Cam; he came here with the mindset to do anything possible to be a one-and-done player and reach his dream of being a first-round draft pick,” Wade said. “All that is going to happen Thursday night.

“Anytime you’re close to someone and they’re able to see their dream come true, it’s an exciting time for your program.”

Wade said Thomas has gained some momentum in recent weeks that could boost his stock as well once the draft starts to unfold.

His best asset, Wade said, is his ability to be a high-volume scorer.

“He’s the best scorer in the draft; he can get buckets, he can score,” Wade said. “He was a scorer in AAU ball, he was a scorer in high school, he was a scorer in college.

“Being able to draw fouls and getting to the free-throw line like he does certainly translates as well. Some of the rules in the NBA are more favorable to him, so that will be to his advantage.”

Watford, a first-team All-SEC pick this season like Thomas, and Smart, a second-team All-SEC selection, hope to hear their name called as well in the two-round 60-pick draft.

But they may have to go the free-agent route like former LSU center Naz Reid.

He was passed over in the 2019 draft after just one collegiate season, but signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves and has been a solid player for that franchise.

“Trendon is long and athletic and he’s got a lot of value as a versatile guy who can play the one through five (positions),” Wade said of the 6-9 Watford, who has a 71-inch wingspan.

“Javonte’s been shooting the ball really well in his workouts. He set shooting records at three different workouts so he’s got some momentum going. He brings a strong mental toughness to the court as well.”

Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com