Khyri Thomas, the junior guard from Omaha, announced that he’ll be departing Creighton University today in pursuit of a dream in the National Basketball Association:
After consulting with my family and Coach Mac, I have made the decision to remain in the NBA Draft. I would like to thank everyone at Creighton for their incredible support the last 3 yrs. It was an honor to play in my hometown in front of the best fans in the country! #GoJays pic.twitter.com/1GbOO9t1sJ— Khyri Thomas (@Khyri_2) May 13, 2018
Khyri, known for his lockdown defense and insatiable ability to score in transition, has been listed as a potential 1st round draft pick in plenty of draft guides across the Internet Sea. At 6’3, with a wingspan tickling 7’, Khyri entertained the crowd of tens of thousands in downtown Omaha during the basketball season with some highlight-reel dunks and thrilling defensive sets.
An Omahan at heart, and a Bunny of Benson, Khyri has always carried himself in an extremely humble manner in front of media and carried quite a bit of insight and intellect regarding the game of basketball.
With his departure, Greg McDermott will likely have back-to-back seasons of Omaha Public School graduates departing for the National Basketball Association before receiving their diploma from Creighton, since Justin Patton (Omaha North) was picked 16th overall in the previous National Basketball Association draft.
After a freshman season that was filled with growing pains and shaky confidence, Khyri splashed onto the national scene in his sophomore campaign by holding the conference’s top scorers to well below their average, most notably against Butler’s Kelan Martin, whom he held to less than seven points in both affairs.
Khyri got his own hashtag that season thanks to White and Blue Review writer Matt DeMarinis, who penned “#Khyrifense,” a simple compound of two words that made the casual observer flex their tiny muscles and yell, “YEAAAAAAHHHHH!”
It was also evident his sophomore year that he’d become a 3-and-D type of player, picking pockets and locking down, scoring and dunking in transition, while occasionally nailing threes and utilizing above-average footwork to grease the rim with the orange orb.
His junior year, with the hype already mounting after scoring 12.3 a game and nabbing 52 steals in 35 games his sophomore season, Khyri became somewhat of a perfect counterpunch to senior guard Marcus Foster. Foster could fill it up; Khyri could defend the best of the best. A tandem that many believed to be one of the best back courts in college hoops, (SB Nation, OWH, BECB) the two were set for great heights before Martin Krampelj’s season ending injury derailed a promising season, allowing opposing teams to simply lock on Foster and Thomas to squeeze by with a win.
Towards the end of his junior year campaign, Khyri carried the team on his back offensively, sinking five treys in the first ten minutes in an upset over #3 Villanova. This became rather routine for the junior guard, leading many to speculate that his head turning performances on big stages would lead to his eventual departure.
He finished the year scoring 15.1 points per game, nabbing 56 steals in 33 contests, shooting 41% from 3, 54% from the field, and grabbing 4.4 rebounds per game.
Though I typically don’t interject with personal stories in direct-to-newswire kind of stories, there was one interaction I had whilst working press this past season that makes me believe that this is all my fault.
It was during the Butler-Creighton game at the CenturyLink Center and I just happened to be plopped down next to a NBA scout. This is typical in BIG EAST play, so I didn’t think too much of it, but when this scout began asking me questions about certain players, fishing for information, I gave him tidbits and generics of what I perceived he was searching for.
I then asked him why he was in attendance and whom he was looking to scout and he somewhat excitedly told me Kelan Martin.
“What a shame,” I said, “you picked the wrong night.”
As Khyri Thomas picked Kelan Martin’s pocket time and time again, the scout began fishing for more information on the young kid from Omaha. Of course, as a Nebraskan myself, I cannot talk shit on another Nebraskan, so I told him all the good things about Khyri (though, in reality, there’s nothing really bad about him, other than the rumor that he plays too much Fortnite, but Josh Hart does that as well, and he’s in the NBA, so)
Then Khyri did this:
...and then the scout began rifling through the pregame notes provided, circling different box scores, then blowing up someone’s phone with a litany of text messages and emails. Khyri scored just 14 on 6-12 shooting, but I realized soon after that I made a huge mistake.