Traveling Violations: The Irish need Chris Thomas to think big
by Dan Wetzel, Yahoo Sports
November 4, 2004
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame coach Mike Brey is eager to do everything he can to help senior guard Chris Thomas become a first-round pick in the 2005 NBA draft. He's talking him up among NBA teams. He's working with Thomas on individual skills.
And he plans on doing what he can during the season to showcase Thomas skills to NBA teams.
The good news is, doing so is completely in line with Notre Dame's team goals this season.
"For Chris, how he needs to play for me is how he is going to be evaluated at the next level," Brey said Thursday. "Can he quarterback? Can he create, get guys involved and then hit an open shot?"
What the league will want out of the 6-foot-1-inch Indianapolis native are pure point guard skills. Since Notre Dame has plenty of offensive options – from off guard Chris Quinn to big man Torin Francis – Thomas has the chance to show he can lead a team.
"The great thing about Chris is he doesn't have an ego," Brey said. "He doesn't look at [new players as], 'Hey, he may steal something from me.'"
If it works out for Thomas, then it is going to work out for Notre Dame.
We love hanging out, talking hoops and generally shooting the breeze. Past fan events have never failed to entertain. With Tabmaster Bearup in the house, this is a deal to end all deals.
We won't have a big banner or anything, but we should be easy to spot. Bearup is 6-foot-8 after all. Otherwise, just look for the two good-looking white guys.
White has made a unique impact on college basketball. Two of his sons are assistant coaches; Michael at the University of Mississippi and Danny freshly promoted at Ohio University.
The interesting part is that Danny wants to be a college administrator like his father, not a basketball coach. But he was pressed into coaching duties at Ohio when the Bobcats lost assistant Kevin Kuwik, whose National Guard unit was called up in September.
So while we like the Whites, Kuwik is undoubtedly our favorite assistant college basketball coach right now.
When Brey came here from Delaware he talked about the need for Notre Dame to reestablish itself as a national program. Four years into his tenure, his roster features players from 11 states.
One of the reasons ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit is our favorite college football analyst is that he predicted exactly this kind of season for Notre Dame, and stuck with it even when half the world was down on the Irish. Turns out he was right.
Valued reader emails:
This alum enjoys the positive exposure State gets from ice hockey in Spartan Stadium (world record attendance), basketball at Ford Field (world record attendance), killer schedule and all. I think this indicates an imaginative college sports marketing program with confidence in the product. In addition, I hear no hint of hanky panky in the sports program nor would I believe it from Izzo.
Chicken fried chicken is not redundant. It is similar to chicken fried steak if you've ever heard of that. The first chicken means that the slab of meat was fried in chicken grease instead of oil or lard.
This was one of many emails questioning my knowledge of chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak. Relax everyone. I don't work for The New York Times; I've had many [too many] chicken fried steaks in my life. But chicken fried chicken still is redundant. Besides, it ranks as the most ineffective form of "health" food I've ever heard.
Brennan has run a terrific program at Vermont, reaching the last two NCAA tournaments despite dealing with a small population and limited budget. He is perhaps best known as the coach whose second job is hosting a popular local radio show.
College coaches say he is a link to a long-ago era in their profession. When a team visits Burlington, Brennan always calls the opposing head coach and tries to take him out to dinner or drinks. Most are stunned, then accept. In an increasingly cutthroat business Brennan is a refreshing, grounded, egoless act.
"This will mark nineteen of the most wonderful years of my life and the support from the people here has never wavered," Brennan said.
Here's hoping he enjoys every minute of this his final season.
Dan Wetzel is Yahoo! Sports' national columnist. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October. Follow him on Twitter. Send Dan a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Friday, Nov 5, 2004 2:54 am, EST