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St. John's basketball 2008 Year In Review Part XIII: Rob Thomas

Part 0: Opening | Part I: Team stats | Part II: Boothe | Part III: Burrell | Part IV: Cavataio (Good Luck to You) | Part V: Coker | Part VI: Evans | Part VII: Horne | Part VIII: Jasiulionis | Part IX: Kennedy | Part X: Lawrence | Part XI: Mason Jr | Part XII: Wright (Good luck to you)

Rob Thomas

(stats taken from, Statsheet, Ken Pomeroy's Basketball Prospectus, and my own calculations)

2007-2008: Freshman
Position: Forward
Height: 6-6
Weight: 235 lbs
Age: 21 (05/28/1986)
Home: New York, NY

In December, the St. John's team got what it thought would be a boost- the return of Rob Thomas to the basketball team. Return? He'd never really been there. Thomas was a 2006 recruit (meaning that that whole class has NOT left the program) but a partial qualifier, due to his grades and spotty academic record. As most of us know, that record isn't due to simple slacking off, but as this New York Times profile hits on, the man could barely read, was homeless at times, and is dyslexic.

The one place the "Norm Roberts does thing the right way" narrative really applies is in a case like this. After Thomas was accepted as eligible to play college basketball a few weeks into the fall semester of 2006, Coach Roberts had him enroll later in the year; and as a partial qualifier, Thomas wouldn't be eligible to play until mid-December 2008 (after the first semester was finished).

Then, of course, Rob ripped up his right knee in a pick up game in the April of 2007 in an injury with a projected recovery time of 8-12 months. But he came back to play in December. Even then, Coach Roberts dialed down expectations of how much Thomas would play; I would have thought that with the team tanking and in need of a scorer, he would consider giving Thomas more playing time.

Coach Roberts did not. I think that's laudable, unless this means that Thomas is in the fabled doghouse. Admittedly, Thomas looked to be laboring at times going up the court, and seemed somewhat earthbound and perhaps not ready. Is that what his game will look like next year? If so, can he be effective, given minutes?

Rob showed flashes of talent that would make Sean Evans a little more expendable, such as an actual touch on offense shots, and a nose for the ball on defense. His stat lines from the 3 games where he played 10 or more minutes (note that the Connecticut game was about 37 minutes of garbage time):

Rob Thomas of St John's chases a ball* Tulane: 13 minutes, 8 points, 1-5 field goals, 1-2 3point fg, 5-6 free throws, 5 rebounds, 2 fouls.

* Cincinnati: 12 mins, 4 pts, 2-4 fg, 0-1 3p fg, 0-1 ft, 4 reb, 0 fouls, 1 steal, 2 turnovers.

* U Conn: 10 mins, 6 pts, 2-4 fg, 1-1 3p fg, 0-1 ft, 4 reb, 1 foul, 2 turnovers, 1 steal.

I don't know how much you can read from Thomas' 6 minutes per game, but we can have fun with small sample sizes:

At the rate he scores, Thomas would be putting 14.3 points/ 40 minutes, a scoring rate less than only Anthony Mason Jr. and Larry Wright. With respect to rebounds, he'd be pulling down 8.6 boards per game, more than Kennedy and Burrell and less than Coker and Cavataio. He would only foul 3.6 times a game. He would also never assist on a basket or ever block a shot.

As we all know, extrapolating Rob's stats to 40 minutes as if they will translate linearly is just silly; fatigue would get at him and he'd likely not hit these numbers. But looking at rate stats to see that someone has a proclivity for part of the game is an interesting exercise. Just like Larry Wright was a pretty solid shooter in 2006-07, Coker does get after rebounds, as does did Cavataio.

And watching Rob Thomas was watching a guy who seems like he is a scorer even in his reduced state. He has some moves on the inside, has a little jump shot, and is willing to take the three-point shot. Thomas, in his 27 attempts on the year, shot 48%, and they weren't of the lucky deep shot variety. And he boxed out and got good position for rebounds. He seemed to get to good spaces on the floor, holding out hope that he'll prove to have an excellent basketball IQ, something this team sorely needs. Here's hoping his summer recovery and conditioning goes very well; the team will need him to provide another offensive and rebounding presence in the post to take pressure off of Justin Burrell. At the very least, he will be a component of the forward rotation, and thankfully, one who doesn't seem foreign to scoring.

More stats, click on "read the rest of this entry" below.

All Conf
Minutes Per Game 6 5.6
Effective FG Pct 51.8% 56.7%
FG Pct 48.1% 53.3%
3pt FG Pct 40.0% 50.0%
FT Pct 62.5% 37.5%
FT Rate 59.2% 53.3%
Points Per Game 2.4 2
Rebounds Per Game 1.4 1.2
Off Rebs Per Game 0.8 0.7
Def Rebs Per Game 0.6 0.5
Assists Per Game 0 0
Steals Per Game 0.2 0.2
Turnovers Per Game 0.5 0.4
Assist-Turnover Ratio 0 0
Blocks Per Game 0 0
Fouls Per Game 0.4 0.5