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Most recent transfer Chris Thomas should boost Herd

COLUMN

The Parthenon

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 20:07

Thundering Herd Basketball fans should familiarize themselves with the name Chris Thomas. The one-time five star recruit and former number one overall junior college player will join the roster this fall and be immediately eligible with three years of eligibility left to play at Marshall. He played last season at Chipola College in Florida where he averaged just 9.9 points per game in 26 games on a team that went 26-5.

Bringing in a talented guard after the departures of DeAndre Kane and D. D. Scarver this spring sounds like a grand plan for Head Coach Tom Herrion. The only returning players from the back court are DeVince Boykins and Tamron Manning, who did not yield hardly any offensive production — both averaged fewer than two points per game, to be exact. Add in that the Herd lost 73.8 percent of the offensive production from last season, adding a scorer to the roster is a no-brainer.

Until the rest of the story behind Thomas is told, that is.

Thomas attended high schools in his native Colorado, as well as in Arizona, Maryland and Connecticut. And despite all those stops along the way to Chipola, he failed to earn his diploma — he completed his GED while at Chipola. That gives reason to be concerned about his academic habits. Yes, he is immediately eligible, but while here at Marshall he must maintain a 2.0 GPA in each semester to remain eligible to compete. Because basketball bridges across both fall and spring semesters, should he fall below 2.0 in a semester, it could render him ineligible for part of the season. This is similar to the situation of former Herd point guards Kelvin Amayo and Damier Pitts, who at one point or another in their careers, had to sit out until grades for the fall semester were released.

In addition to his frequent flyer miles, Thomas also gained a reputation for being a bit of a hothead and having some run-ins with the law. Last winter, Thomas was charged with driving on a suspended license, and driving an unregistered vehicle in Florida, according to the Jackson County Floridian. He was later forced to miss the Florida State Junior College Tournament because he violated the terms of his conditional release from jail by testing positive for marijuana.

It has also been noted that if technical fouls and vocal outbursts were recorded as statistics during his final season of summer Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) ball, he would have led the country in both. That final tidbit of information brings back memories of a young Kane, who registered seven technical fouls in each of his first two seasons with the Herd, although he cleaned it up last season and picked up just one technical.

So here is the question that will constantly be asked as long as Chris Thomas is with the Herd: Does his talent on the court outweigh his legal and attitude issues? Herrion and his staff believe so. Now it is time to see which past Thomas lives up to. He has the potential to be a big time player, but he also has the potential to be a big time headache for Herrion.

Braxton Crisp can be contacted at crisp23@marshall.edu.

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