Aug. 2, 2002
Los Angeles, Calif. - Notre Dame sophomore point guard Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.) has been named as one of 50 preseason candidates for the 2003 John R. Wooden Award which annually is presented to the nation's top men's basketball player. Thomas, the 2002 National Freshman of the Year by Basketball Times and Basketball News was one of five sophomores selected to the list.
The Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual in college basketball and is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 grade point average.
The '02 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year averaged 15.6 points and 7.64 assists as freshman in leading the Irish to a 22-11 record. A third-team all-BIG EAST selection, Thomas set Notre Dame single-season marks for assists (252), steals (72) and steals average (2.18). His 7.64 assists per game, which ranked fifth nationally, also tied the school mark established by Jackie Meehan (1970-71).
Thomas recorded the first triple double in the 96-year history of Notre Dame basketball when he scored 24 points, dished off 11 assists and made 11 steals in his first collegiate outing on Nov. 16, 2001 against New Hampshire. He scored in double figures in 24 games during the season and registered seven double doubles. The six-time BIG EAST rookie-of-the-week honoree also scored 20-plus points in nine games and led the Irish in scoring on nine occasions.
Thomas was among seven BIG EAST players named to the Top 50 list. The other league players included: Troy Bell (Boston College), Marcus Hatten (St. John's), Brandin Knight (Pittsburgh), Emeka Okafor (Connecticut), Darius Rice (Miami) and Michael Sweetney (Georgetown).
The '03 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Wooden All-American team and presentation of the Legends Coaching Award, will be held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Sunday, April 13 and will be televised live nationally on Fox Sports Net for the sixth straight year.