Aug. 10, 2004
Notre Dame, Ind. -
For the second consecutive year, senior Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.) and junior Torin Francis (Boston, Mass.) have been selected to the 2004-05 John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team Top 50 list. The 50 candidates were selected by the Wooden Award Preseason All-America Committee.
Thomas and Francis were among seven BIG EAST players named to the team. In addition to the Irish duo, the other five players included Ryan Gomes (Providence), Carl Krauser (Pittsburgh), Gerry McNamara (Syracuse), Craig Smith (Boston College) and Hakim Warrick (Syracuse).
Thomas, a 6-1, 185-pound point guard, was Notre Dame's leading scorer in 2003-04 as he averaged 19.7 points per game and earned honorable mention Associated Press and second-team all-BIG EAST league honors for the second consecutive year. He became the school's career assist leader (638) during the 2003-04 campaign and was the Irish assist leader (4.7 per game) for the third time in as many seasons. Thomas also was a first-team NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) District 10 and USBWA (United States Basketball Writers Association) District V honoree.
He led the Irish in scoring in 22 games overall and in 13 of the last 14 contests (including a streak of 11 straight games at one point during the season). The 6-1 guard topped the 20-point mark in 16 games and scored 30-plus points twice during the season. Thomas netted a career-high 39 points (the fifth 30-point outing of his career) in Notre Dame's win over Saint Louis in the second round of the NIT.
Heading into his senior season, Thomas ranks eighth all-time in career scoring with 1,783 points and is the only player in Notre Dame history to score more than 1,700 points and dish off 600-plus assists. He has played and started all 99 games in his career. That streak of 99 consecutive games started ranks second all-time. Thomas has netted double figures in 85 gamed throughout his career, scored 20-plus point on 41 occasions and played 40-plus minutes in 35 contests.
Francis, a 6-11, 252-pound forward, played in 20 games before a back injury required him to have surgery on March 8. Prior to the injury, he was averaging 14.2 points and 8.8 rebounds. For the second consecutive year, Francis led the team with seven double doubles and scored 20-plus points in five games, in addition to grabbing grabbed 10-plus rebounds in eight contests.
Despite playing in just 10 conference games, he was selected to the BIG EAST honorable mention team and earned player-of-the-week honors on one occasions. Francis had one of his best outings of the season in Notre Dame's win at Virginia Tech as he scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. In addition, he had 24 points and 19 rebounds in the season opener versus Northern Illinois. He also earned conference player-of-the-week accolades during the season. Francis was the team's leading scorer on six occasions and leading rebounder in 12 contests.
In mid-January, the Wooden Commitee will release on Midseason Top 30 list on CBS Sports. The 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced on March 29, 2005. One member of the that team will be selected on Saturday, April 9, 2005 as the recipient of the Wooden Award Trophy as the nation's "Most Outstanding Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year."