- 6.4 points, 11.5 per 40 minutes
- 3.1 rebounds, 5.5 per 40 minutes
- 22.5 minutes per game
- 45.7/33.3/58.6 shooting splits
Best of the Best
Saturday, February 21 vs. Houston
For a guy who doesn't embrace the go-to scorer's role very often, Thomas did not shy away from it against Houston in February. He sank 5-of-8 shots from the floor and finished with a season-high 18 points. Even more importantly, he did something he failed to do all season; shoot well from the charity stripe. He drilled 7-of-8 shots from the foul line, a much better success rate than his 58.6 percent effort on the season as a whole. He had a critical stretch late in the contest, as he drained a 3-pointer with 5:27 to play, then stole the ball on the ensuing possession and sank a pair of free throws. The five-point burst gave Cincinnati a 54-49 cushion, which was enough to stave off the hosting Cougars. Thomas' efforts in this game kicked off a five-game winning streak for the Bearcats in which he scored in double figures three times, his longest such streak of the season.
Friday, March 13 vs. Connecticut
Sure, Ryan Boatright was the star of the game, what with his buzzer beater, but Thomas had one of his best contests of the year in the American Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals. He scored 10 points as one of three Bearcats in double figures, sinking 4-of-7 from the floor, to go along with a 2-for-2 effort at the free throw line. He also put in work on the glass, especially the offensive side, with five of his seven rebounds coming on the offensive end of the floor. His help in creating extra opportunities aided Cincinnati in owning a 19-6 advantage in second chance points.
For Next Year
So, we've examined Thomas' junior season. We've scoured the remains and put the good with the bad. So what now? What will Thomas do in his senior season? The easy answer is he will remain a glue guy, who scores when he has to, gets a few boards per game, plays shut down defense and provides a few stunning athletic moments leaving us scrambling to record them and throw them on social media. A betting man would peg him for 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and maybe a block per game next season, but there is always the chance that he will exceed those expectations.
To do so, Thomas first needs to build off of the effort he had on the glass in the final three games of the season, when he had seven, six and five rebounds, respectively. He could also stand to be a bit more selective with his shots and, hopefully, improve his offensive efficiency even more. Sometimes he launched contested jumpers that had no shot of going in, but limiting his mid-range jumpers to open looks and following on the glass to create easy chances could boost him to be a 9-10 points per game scorer.
Aside from that, Thomas doesn't have to do much else. He is already a strong defender and an excellent athlete and he fits perfectly in Cronin's system. He is one of many returning players for Cincinnati and an important part of a core group that has all the experience and know-how to make a deep run in the AAC and the NCAA at large.