Chris Thomas to return to ND
Published 7:35 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Point guard Chris Thomas announced Monday that he has withdrawn his name from the 2003 National Basketball Association early entry draft list and will return to the University of Notre Dame for his junior season.
Thomas spent the past few weeks travelling around the country to work out for several NBA teams.
Now that he has decided to return to Notre Dame next season, he will have to reimburse those teams for any expenses they paid.
Thomas was named the National Freshman of the Year by Basketball Times and Basketball News following the 2001-02 campaign and also was named the 2002 Big East Rookie of the Year. He was Notre Dame's second leading scorer during the 2002-03 campaign with an 18.7 scoring average.
For the second straight season, Thomas led the Irish in assists with a 6.9 average and ranked eighth nationally in that category.
Thomas is the only player in school history to dish off 200-plus assists in consecutive seasons (236 in 2002-03 and 252 in 2001-02). He became the 42nd player in Notre Dame history to score 1,000 and is just the seventh player in school history to reach the mark in only his second season.
A second-team all-Big East honoree in 2003, he was a finalist for the John R. Wooden, Naismith and USBWA/Oscar Robertson player-of-the-year awards.
He scored 20-plus points 15 times and registered four double-doubles during this past season as he helped Notre Dame to 24-10 record and its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1987.
Thomas led the Irish in scoring in their three NCAA tournament contests with a 21.3 scoring average.
Thomas' 488 career assists ranks fifth all-time and he owns career marks in assist average (7.3) and free throw percentage (.879).
Brey, heading into his fourth season at Notre Dame, also recognizes what Thomas means to his program.