Nov. 8, 2004
Notre Dame, Ind. – Senior Chris Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind.) and junior Torin Francis (Boston, Mass.) are among 50 players named as preseason candidates for the 2005 Naismith Trophy, presented by Cingular Wireless and the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award and is presented annually to the men’s and women’s players of the year.
The Top 50 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its preseason criteria on player performances from last season. In January, the Board of Selectors will narrow its preseason list to the Top 30 in the nation and will be eligible for the final ballot in March.
Thomas and Francis were also named to the John R. Wooden Award Top 50 list in August.
Thomas, a 6-1, 190-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. He recently was named as a preseason all-BIG EAST first team selection.
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 addition to Thomas and Francis, the list of players include: Hassan Adams (Arizona), Sean Banks (Memphis), Brandon Bass (LSU), Andrew Bogut (Utah), Kevin Bookout (Oklahoma), Dee Brown (Illinois), Taylor Coppenrath (Vermont), Paul Davis (Michigan State), Travis Diener (Marquette), Ike Diogu (Arizona State), B.J. Elder (Georgia Tech), Danielle Ewing (Duke), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Channing Frye (Arizona), Francisco Garcia (Louisville), John Gilchrist (Maryland), Ryan Gomes (Providence), Joey Graham (Oklahoma State),Justin Gray (Wake Forest), Chuck Hayes (Kentucky), Julius Hodge (North Carolina State), Jarrett Jack (Georgia Tech), Carl Krauser (Pittsburgh), Keith Langford (Kansas), David Lee (Florida), John Lucas, Jr. (Oklahoma State), Sean May (North Carolina), Jason Maxiell (Cincinnati), Rashad McCants (North Carolina), Gerry McNamara (Syracuse), Chris Paul (Wake Forest), J.J. Redick (Duke), Anthony Roberson (Florida), Lawrence Roberts (Mississippi State), Nate Robinson (Washington), Luke Schenscher (Georgia Tech), Mustafa Shakur (Arizona), Wayne Simien (Kansas), Salim Stoudamire (Arizona), Ronny Turiaf (Gonzaga), Charlie Villanueva (Connecticut), Matt Walsh (Florida), Hakim Warrick (Syracuse), Deron Williams (Illinois), Shelden Williams (Duke), Kennedy Winston (Alabama), Curtis Withers (Charlotte) and Bracey Wright (Indiana).