Khryi Thomas defensive ability helping help climb up draft boards

Recruited as a defender, Creighton’s Khryi Thomas lived up to that billing and more. Two years ago, the combo guard was the Big East co-defensive player of the year. In 2017-18, he won the honor outright. That means something, because the award is voted on by league’s coaches, the ones who watch countless hours of film.

Thomas is such an impactful defender, that aspect of his game almost overshadows the fact he’s every bit as good on the other end of the floor.

Statistics, both advanced and conventional, tell the tale.

His effective field-goal percentage, which takes into account 2- and 3-point shots, was 62.9, 38th in the country. And his true shooting percentage, which adds the third component of free-throw shooting, was 65.0, 39th in the country.

In his final season, Thomas was fourth in the Big East in field-goal percentage (.538), 11th in 3-point percentage (.411) and also shot nearly 80 percent from the free-throw line. A player shoots that well, there’s little doubt he possesses great, or at least repeatable, mechanics, and Thomas does. But equally important was his shot selection.

“I can probably count on one hand the number of questionable shots he took the whole year,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott says. “At times, I wish he would have taken a couple more chances. He had the ability to make guarded shots. But to his credit, he played within our system. If one of his teammates had a great shot, he’d turn down a good shot to make sure they were able to get that better opportunity.”

 

GameTime: Stu Jackson’s Under the Radar draft board.

Thomas’ ability to get the ball in the basket wasn’t a secret by any means, but it might have been overshadowed a bit, especially on a team that included guard Marcus Foster, who averaged 19.8 points (to Thomas’ 15.8), finished fifth in the Big East in scoring and was second in shot attempts among the league’s top 30 scorers.

“I think his defense got everybody’s attention,” McDermott says. “But once you start to dig into the numbers a little and watch a little bit of film, you begin to see how he’s getting his points and how efficient he is. I think that’s part of the reason he’s a hot name in the draft right now.”

Creighton assistant coach Preston Murphy agrees.

“When you play for coach McDermott, he gives you a lot of freedom,” Murphy says. “He doesn’t put restraints on you. Normally a player of Khryi’s caliber, coach gives him the freedom to shoot the basketball. But his [prudent] shot selection, his ability to find teammates, that mindset is very unique in this day and age.”

NBA News

via NBA.com: News http://www.nba.com/news

June 14, 2018 at 10:36AM

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