Thursday, February 24, 2005

CT, appreciated | by Dylan

There is a fantastic piece in today's Indianapolis Star which sounds a grace note at the beginning of the end of the Chris Thomas era at Notre Dame. Along with the now-familiar list of on-the-court superlatives, Michael Pointer's article provides some shading to the often black and white public picture of Thomas. The key grafs:

Thomas spends six to eight hours each week counseling teenagers at the South Bend Center for the Homeless as part of a program called Resilience.

Thomas said he and the other mentors in the program demand that their students make the honor roll at their high schools. But nearly everyone does just that, he said.

"A lot of them come from big families and they don't get the support and care and love that some fortunate kids like myself have gotten," Thomas said.

"In order to be successful with the kids, you've got to show you love them first. Once you show them that love and support, that brings out their willingness to get better and improve in those areas you teach them."
Thomas, like most teams' best player, is a bit of a lightning rod. Some say he shoots too much or not enough. Some say he doesn't do enough to initiate the offense. Some say he doesn't properly navigate the high pick-and-roll. There is certainly some merit to these arguments, but they obscure larger truths. Chris Thomas is one of the best players in the history of the program, one of the best guards in the history of the Big East, and a terrific representative of the University.

My pessimism regarding this team's chances in the NCAA tournament are well documented. I think they are a one-and-out team for reasons that have nothing to do with Thomas. So while it's too early to write the eulogy on Thomas' career at Notre Dame, we need to heed his words down the stretch:
"I'm just proud of the fact I'm going to graduate from Notre Dame with a degree," Thomas said. "And I really feel like I'm most proud of where our program is going. Since I stepped on campus our freshman year, the program has just gotten better."