May 6, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame point guard Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.) announced today that he has made himself eligible for the 2003 National Basketball Association draft on June 26.
Thomas does not plan to hire an agent. An underclassman who declares early can return to school and pull his name from the draft on or before June 19 (one week prior to the draft) if he doesn't sign with an agent.
The 6-1 sophomore is the fourth underclassman from Notre Dame to declare for the NBA draft. Two-time consensus All-American Troy Murphy left following his junior year after playing with the Irish from 1999-2001. He was the 14th pick overall in the '01 draft. Adrian Dantley played three seasons (1973-74, 1974-75 and 1975-76) before passing up his final year of eligibility and was the sixth pick in the 1976 draft. Gary Brokaw, a member of Notre Dame's 1972-73 and 1973-74 teams, was the 18th pick overall in the 1974 draft.
Thomas was the National Freshman of the Year by Basketball Times and Basketball News following the 2001-02 campaign and also was named the '02 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. He was Notre Dame's second leading scorer this past season with an 18.7 scoring average. For the second straight year, he 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 '02-'03 and 252 in '01-'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 '03, 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 its 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).