The Halifax Rainmen hope DeAndre Thomas is the solution in their quest to find a presence in the paint.

The Rainmen, who took a pass on the six-foot-eight, 340-pound centre in October’s Premier Basketball League draft because of concerns about his conditioning, signed Thomas on Thursday in the hope he will step in and make an impact.

They also signed six-foot-10 centre Marc Mazur and six-foot point guard Antwan Dobie. Owner Andre Levingston said all three could see significant floor time on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Metro Centre against the Vermont Frost Heaves.

Levingston called Thomas “a young John Strickland.”

“I think DeAndre can be the best big guy in the league because of his talent,” Levingston said. “Man, he’s amazing. He’s a talent. He’s a point guard in a big guy’s body. He’s light on his feet, really athletic, really talented. He’s a guy we can really do some good things with for years to come.”

The Rainmen initially wanted to spend the next three weeks whipping Thomas into better condition before putting him into a game. But he was so effective in practice this week, they decided to put him in the lineup immediately.

“He can help us right away,” Levingston said.

The six-foot-10 Mazur, a former teammate of Rainmen small forward Desmond Ferguson at University of Detroit Mercy, averaged 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds with the PBL’s Manchester Millrats last season. Dobie, 31, spent 2008-09 with Nanterre of France’s B League.

Small forward Jevohn Shepherd is out with a hamstring injury.