Kenny Thomas Career Biography

A four-year starter who led New Mexico to its best 4-year record in school history: UNM was 102-30 between 1995-99 with four successive trips - 8 games - to the NCAA Tournament...the Lobos won the WAC Tournament title Thomas freshman year (1996) and advanced to the championship game on two other occasions (1998 and 99)...head coach Dave Bliss said Thomas was the best big man he coached from a defensive and passing standpoint...became the 1st player in WAC history to log 1,800 points, 1,000 rebounds and 200 blocks...played in 123 games with 119 starts...34 career double-doubles, 10 his senior year...Thomas had to sit out the 1998 fall semester as a result of a May 24, 1997, settlement with the NCAA regarding his initial August of 1995, the NCAA ruled Thomas did not meet initial eligiblity requirements because he was one-half credit short of the necessary high school core courses...the course in question was a 9th-grade physical science class...however, a New Mexico state court judge disagreed and granted a preliminary injunction against the NCAA, allowing Thomas to practice, play and receive a scholarship...Thomas officially joined the team on Nov. 3, 1995, missing the first 19 practices...played under the injunction until the 1997 agreement...born July 25, 1977, in Atlanta, Georgia...full name is Kenneth Cornelius Thomas...son of Calvin and Patricia...has no brothers or sisters...a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 1997 World University Games in Trapani, Italy.

Trimmer Thomas
After playing his first 3 seasons between 270-280 pounds, Thomas toted a little less than 260 his senior year...the weight loss was directly attributed to eating habits Thomas initiated in earnest in the summer of 98: no junk food, sweets or sodas; eliminating " all the bad stuff"...while the rest of the team was wolfing post-game pizzas, Thomas had a turkey sandwich...he tried not to eat anything after 8 p.m. and most of his meals consisted of chicken or fish...asked his primary reason for shedding the weight, Thomas said, "I owe it to my teammates."

Thomas in the UNM Record Book
Points, Career:2nd (1,931)
Points, Freshman Season:1st (484)
Game in Double Figures, Career:1st (105)
Rebounds, Career:1st (1,032)
Rebounds, Career, WAC Games:1st (512)
Field Goals Made, Career:3rd (666)
Field Goals Attempted, Career:5th (1,240)
Field Goal Percentage, Career:8th (53.7%)
Free Throws Made, Career:2nd (534)
Free Throws Attempted, Career:2nd (722)
Blocks, Career:2nd (239)
Minutes Played, Career:4th (3,931)
Fouls, Career:1st (383)

Career Honors
The only Lobo to earn All-Western Athletic Conference honors three times (1996, 1998-99)...2nd team All-America by Basketball Times following his junior season...honorable mention All-

America by the Associated Press in 1998 and 99...two-time Most Valuable Player of the WAC Tournament (1996 and 98)...finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year Award and the John Wooden Award in 1998 and 99...3rd Team Freshman All-America by Basketball Times and WAC Freshman of the Year in 1996.

1998-99 Notes
(Senior Season)
Became the first Lobo in 23 years to average a double-double with 17.8 points and 10.0 rebounds...the last to do so was Larry Gray in 1975-76 (14.3/10.4)...the last Lobo to average at least 17 points and 10 rebounds for a season was Willie Long in 1970-71 (23.9/10.6)...missed all but 6 minutes of the WAC Tournament after suffering a strained left groin in the first half of UNMs quarterfinal win over Rice...did not suit up for SMU or Utah...made his 1998-99 debut Dec. 19 against Sacramento State, after missing the first semester (6 games) due the agreement made with the NCAA...played/started 26 games...led UNM in rebounding in 21 of his 26 games...also 1st on the team with 62 blocks and 2nd in steal average at 1.6/game...had 41 steals after only 28 in 32 games last year...had missed just 7 minutes the past 7 games before the injury against Rice...played the entire game 8 times, something he had done only 4 times his first 3 seasons...fouled out once in 1998-99 after 11 DQs his first 3 years...committed 4 or more personals 47 times his first 3 years when he averaged 3.27 fouls a game (317 fouls in 97 games) compared to 2.54 (66 in 26 games) as a senior.

1998-99 Season Highlights
Absolutely awesome vs. UTEP on Feb. 20 in his final collegiate game in The Pit...tied a career-high with 31 points, plus 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists and 0 turnovers in 40 was just his 2nd game with no turnovers...hit his first 6 shots and 13 of 15 overall, including 4 of 5 from 3-point...averaged 25 points in his last 5 games against the Miners...20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks in 39 minutes vs. Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament...28 points at San Diego State, making 12-17 FGs...21 points came in the 2nd half when he took over the game...also 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals...28 points (8-12 FGs, 3-4 3s, 9-10 FTs), plus 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks in 40 minutes at BYU...1st double-double in 8 games with 19 points and 13 rebounds against San Jose State on Feb. 11...became UNM's career rebounding leader with 9 boards at UTEP on Jan. 23, surpassing Luc Longley in 21 fewer games...Luc had 922 caroms in 132 games from 1988-91...25 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals in all 45 minutes vs. Hawai'i...26 points, 9 rebounds and a career-high 4 steals at Washington on a plethora of athletic moves...dominating all over the floor against New Mexico State with 21 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals, while holding two Aggie big men to a combined 10 points...hit 6-7 FTs...22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high-tying 7 blocks in 29 minutes vs. San Diego State...had 4 blocks in the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half...vs. Hawai'i, 16 points, 16 rebounds and a career-high-tying 7 blocks for the second straight game; scored all his points in the first 15 minutes of the 1st half...despite being double-teamed even without the ball, 13 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks at San Jose State...a career-high 18 rebounds (14 in the 1st half) in just 29 minutes vs. New Hampshire...23 points from all over the floor, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and 4 steals in 40 minutes vs. Coppin State...22 points and 14 rebounds vs. McNeese State...WAC Pacific Division player of the week twice: Jan. 4 after averaging 19.3 ppg and 11.3 rpg in wins over New Hampshire, Houston, Coppin State and New Mexico State; and Feb. 22 following his career-high-tying 31 points against UTEP...Lobo Invitational MVP after 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals against Houston in the title game, prompting Cougars' head coach Clyde Drexler to say, "He's a 20-10 man in any league,"...hit UNM's first two 3s of the game...33 points and 27 rebounds in the 2 games.

1997-98 (Junior)
WAC Mountain Division player of the year as chosen by the media...NABC 1st team all-district...UNM co-MVP with Royce Olney...WAC Mountain Division Player of the Week for games Jan. 12-18, when he totaled 55 points and 28 rebounds against Colorado State, UNLV and Arizona...Season Stats/Trends...the first Lobo to lead the team in both scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg) since Luc Longley in 1990-91...also 1st in blocks (79) and shot a team-high 76.7% (122-159) from the line...a double-double in 6 of his last 9 contests, and 16 times for the year...Season Highlights...31 points vs. UTEP on Feb. 19, making 11-15 FGs, including 4 3-pointers, plus 12 rebounds and 4 assists in just 26 minutes...probably best overall game of the season came in the 78-64 win at Colorado State Jan. 12, with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 7 blocks...Thomas scored from down low, with short jumpers, nailed a 3-pointer and was a force on defense...16 points and 8 boards in the 1st half as UNM built a 39-26 halftime lead...14 points and 17 rebounds at BYU...21 points and 9 rebounds in 29 minutes at UTEP, while connecting on all 3 of his 3-point attempts...scored the last 5 points of a 12-2 run that gave the Lobos a 70-60 lead after the Miners had tied it at 58...a game-high 22 points vs. UNLV in The Pit, 17 of those coming in the 2nd half as the Lobos built an 18-point lead...Thomas scored UNM's first 13 points of the 2nd half, outscoring the Rebels 13-9 in the process...a team-high 16 points at UNLV, plus 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks...26 points and 10 rebounds against Texas Tech when he hit a pair of 3-pointers...21 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 8 assists against San Jose State...24 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 blocks against Air Force at home...46 points and 22 rebounds in 2 games against New Mexico State, despite double and triple teams...had 15 of his 17 points vs. Southern Cal in the 1st half on 6-7 FGs and 2-2 3s as UNM bolted to a 48-24 halftime lead...1998 WAC Tournament...named MVP for the 2nd time in 3 years...3 straight double-doubles in games against Tulsa, TCU and UNLV, averaging 18.7 ppg and 11.7 rpg in the 3 games...22 points and 12 boards against TCU with an 18-point, 10-rebound outburst in the 2nd half...21 of his 35 tourney rebounds were on the offensive end...19 of 24 at the FT line.

1996-97 (Sophomore)
1st team all-district by the NABC...2nd team All-WAC Mountain Division by the coaches...1996-97 Season Stats/Trends...played and started 32 games...did not dress at Tulsa due to a sprained ankle...13.9 ppg, a team-high 6.9 rpg and 53% shooting for the season...led the team with 48 blocks...averaged 16.1 ppg the last 9 games, but scored just 32 points the last 3 games...shot 33% (10-30) from the floor the last 4 games...had 8 double-doubles...1996-97 Season Highlights...51 points in back-to-back games against UTEP (25) and Hawaii (26) Feb. 20-22...scored 20 in the 2nd half vs. Hawaii in The Pit, making all 8 of his FGs...a season-high 26 points and 13 rebounds in 38 minutes at UTEP...17 points and 10 rebounds vs. Tulsa at home...20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the home win over Utah...22 points and 10 rebounds vs. SMU...23 points and 10 rebounds at Hawaii...10 points and a season-high 16 rebounds at New Mexico State followed 19 points and 12 rebounds at Texas Tech for 29 points and 28 boards in consecutive games...hit his first career 3-pointer in the season opener against Simon Fraser...entering the season, The Sporting News rated Thomas as the 3rd-best center in the country behind Wake Forests Tim Duncan and George Washingtons Alexander Koul...Street & Smiths said Thomas was one of the top 20 players in the nation while Athlon listed him as a 5th team All-America.

1995-96 (Freshman)
The most prolific freshman in school history and one of the best first-year players in the country...All-WAC Newcomer Team by the coaches and the media...also first team All-WAC by the coaches, just the 5th freshman in the history of the WAC to be named to the first team, joining Utahs Keith Van Horn (1994), Colorado States Eddie Hughes (1979), BYUs Danny Ainge (1978) and Arizonas Coniel Norman (1973) in that group...1st team All-District 7 by the Basketball Writers...1996 WAC Tournament...Most Valuable Player, averaging 20.3 points and 10 rebounds in the three games...maybe the most dominating game of his career with 30 points and 17 rebounds in the 64-60 title win over Utah...he carried UNM the entire game, especially in the 1st half...while the rest of the team missed 20 of 23 shots in the first period, Thomas poured in 21 points on 6 of 7 shooting, and yanked down 12 boards...for the game, he was 9 of 11 from the floor and 12 of 15 from the line...the rest of the Lobos converted only 12 of 42 FGs (29%) and 4 of 6 FTs...the 30 tallies is a Lobo freshman scoring record, while the 17 caroms tied a freshman standard...Thomas scored 23 of New Mexicos first 32 points...1995-96 Stats/Trends...started the last 29 games in the low post after coming off the bench the first four...obliterated UNM freshman records for scoring (484) and rebounding (256): the scoring record was 321 points by Phil Smith in 26 games in 1980-81, the rebounding mark 142 by teammate Clayton Shields in 30 games in 1994-95...Thomas broke the carom standard in his 19th game...Thomas and North Carolinas Antawn Jamison were the only two NCAA freshmen to average more than 14 points and 7 rebounds, and shoot better than 55% from the field in 1995-96...Thomas finished 22nd in the nation in FG percentage at 57.8%...1995-96 Highlights...28 points against Fresno State on Mar. 2, making 10-12 FGs and 8-11 FTs...also 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and he fouled out two Bulldogs centers...Thomas scored 20 in the second half, including 13 of UNMs final 22 points...16 points and 13 rebounds at BYU...18 points and 16 rebounds at Colorado State for his 3rd double-double in the first 6 WAC games...set a career scoring high for the 2nd straight game with 26 points against Hawaii...also had a career-best 6 blocks and 11 rebounds...just 8 points at UTEP, but his dunk with 1:05 left gave UNM its first lead of the game at 62-60...a double-double in his first career start with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks at Arizona State.

High School
A 1995 graduate of Albuquerque High of the top 15 high school seniors in the nation...rated the 11th best player in the country by recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons...third team prep All-America in 1994-95 by USA Today and Parade magazine...led AHS to the 1995 Class 4A state title with a 22-3 record...averaged 25.2 points and 16.9 rebounds for Jim Hulsmans Bulldogs...spent his first two years of high school at El Paso (Texas) Austin before moving to Albuquerque in the summer of 94...MVP for the East team at the Coca-Cola All-American high school all-star game in Indianapolis after his senior year...Thomas had 15 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks to outplay teammates headed to Connecticut, Syracuse, Indiana and Kansas...MVP of the BCI tournament in Phoenix in the summer of 95.