As he announced on Instagram earlier this week, Jalen Thomas is now a Butler Bulldog!
Thomas was most notably a rim-protector for the Georgia State Panthers, who were able to use him as an effective last line of defense last year. Thomas averaged 1.7 blocks per game, placing him in the top 60 nationally. He averaged 10.1 PPG and 5.9 REB as a sophomore with the Panthers, his most productive season to date.
For a big man, Thomas also shoots it very well from the free-throw line at 70% last year and a very impressive 82% in his sophomore season.
His shooting splits did drop off last year, in part due to the Georgia State roster being ravaged with injuries for the majority of the season, but even with that, Thomas shot 53% from the field during his career. From February 5 to the end of the season, when Georgia State finally got healthy, Thomas averaged 10.4PPG, 6.6REB, 1.9 BPG on 51.6% shooting from the field.
What’s most notable about him as a player though is that he is a physically imposing presence inside, something that Butler has been missing the last couple of years. He even gave the Gonzaga bigs some trouble in last year’s tournament, having 12 points and 9 rebounds before falling into foul trouble.
Thomas will fill a pretty similar role at Butler as he did at Georgia State, as a physically imposing, defensive-minded big man who won’t need to hunt his own shot aggressively. Guards Simas Lukosius, Chuck Harris, and Jayden Taylor, along with transfer Ali Ali will fill many of the scoring duties.
Georgia State was able to play very aggressive defense because they had a presence like Thomas in the frontcourt, and Butler could be looking to do the same this year. A legit rim protector was #1 on the list of needs for the Dawgs and Thomas brings exactly that. This fits exactly what this team needs and Jalen should be ready to start on day one, should his name be called. Welcome to the Big East, Jalen!