Daryl Thomas

Photo: Indiana University Athletics

Daryl Thomas was an American basketball player. He played four seasons at Indiana University and was the co-captain of the 1987 NCAA National Championship winning Indiana team. He was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 1987 NBA Draft and played 13 years of professional basketball in the UK, Poland, and the Dominican Republic. He later became a basketball coach and instructor.

Daryl Thomas Biography

  • Name: Daryl Thomas
  • Position: Power Forward/Center
  • Nationality: USA
  • Birthday: May 25, 1965
  • Death: March 28, 2018 (age 52)
  • Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
  • High School: St. Joseph High SchoolΒ (Westchester, Illinois)
  • Height: 6’7″ (2.01 m)
  • Weight: 240 lb (109 kg)
  • Seasons: 4 (1983-1984, 1984-1985, 1985-1986, 1986-1987)
  • Jersey: #24
  • NBA Draft: 1987 / Round 4 / #120 overall (drafted by the Sacramento Kings)
  • Professional Career: Played in the CBA (Fargo-Moorhead; La Crosse) and internationally (in the UK, Poland, and the Dominican Republic)
  • Coaching Career: Coach for Montini Catholic High School (Lombard, Illinois)

Daryl Thomas’s Seasons at Indiana University

1983-1984 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (13th Season)
22-9 (13-5 Big Ten)
πŸ₯‰ 3rd Place Big Ten
πŸ… NCAA Elite Eight
1984-1985 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (14th Season)
19-14 (7-11 Big Ten)
7th Place Big Ten
πŸ₯ˆ NIT Runner Up
1985-1986 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (15th Season)
21-8 (13-5 Big Ten)
πŸ₯ˆ 2nd Place Big Ten
πŸ… NCAA First Round
1986-1987 Indiana Basketball Season
Bob Knight (16th Season)
30-4 (15-3 Big Ten)
πŸ† 1st Place Big Ten
πŸ† NCAA Champions

Daryl Thomas’s Statistics at Indiana University

1983-84 25 6 300 24 52 0.462 21 39 0.538 46 7 15 3 19 40 69 8 17
1984-85 21 10 315 43 78 0.551 29 44 0.659 55 6 8 9 16 45 115 24 26
1985-86 26 26 0 133 237 0.561 111 146 0.760 124 14 27 9 53 85 377 33 35
1986-87 34 34 1020 199 370 0.538 199 370 0.538 0 0 136 173 0.786 194 27 45 13 71 98 534 15 10
Career 106 76 1635 399 737 0.541 199 370 0.538 0 0 297 402 0.739 419 54 95 34 159 268 1095 80 88

Daryl Thomas’s High School Career

Thomas was a star at St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois. This was the same high school that helped produce another Indiana great, Isaiah Thomas. In high school, Daryl Thomas learned from the famed coach Gene Pingatore.

As a senior, Thomas was a McDonald’s All-American and a Parade All-American.

Daryl Thomas’s Indiana University Career

Thomas arrived on campus in 1983, alongside fellow recruits Steve Alford and Tom Meier.

As a freshman, Thomas averaged 12 minutes per game and only attempted about two shots per game. He was largely a role player for the 22-win Indiana squad that eventually lost to Virginia in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Thomas’s role began to increase the next season and he averaged 5.5 points per game. However, IU finished seventh in the Big Ten, unable to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Indiana, instead, played in the NIT and lost to UCLA in the championship game.

In 1985-1986, Thomas had a breakout season, averaging 14.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting a career-best 56.1% from the field. Indiana was a #3 seed the NCAA Tournament but lost in the first round to #14 Cleveland State.

Photo: Dean Ruiz/AP

As a senior, Thomas was named team co-captain and continued to impress on and off the court. He shot 53.8% from the field while attempting nearly 11 shots per game and averaged 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game.

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IU was dominant that season, securing 30 victories and eventually winning the National Championship game in the NCAA Tournament over Syracuse. In the championship, Thomas scored 20 points and made the famous pass to Keith Smart for the game-winning three-point shot. Bobby Knight would later say that Thomas’s recognition that Smart had a better shot and the decision to pass to him “the greatest single play I ever had a kid make.”

Thomas was loved by teammates for his kind personality and infectious smile.

Daryl Thomas’s Professional and Coaching Career

Thomas was selected as the #120 pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 1987 NBA Draft but was unable to make the team. Thomas went on to play professionally in the United Kingdom, Poland, and the Dominican Republic.

After his playing career, Thomas later became the head coach at Montini High School. He also was an instructor at the Chicago Bulls/Sox Academy.

Thomas died of a heart attack on March 28, 2018.

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