In a move that had been expected for a couple of weeks now, former University of Houston All Conference forward TaShawn Thomas is officially a Sooner! The 6-8/240 senior from Killeen, Texas signed his financial aid packet and was introduced to the media on Tuesday afternoon.
"When I got my release, OU was one of the first schools to contact me and show interest," Thomas said during his introduction, "That caught my attention. When I got to Norman, I just fell in love with the campus. It's beautiful."
After averaging 14.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.2 blocks per game at Houston, he's a talent that Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger would like to get on the floor as quickly as possible. With the introduction of Thomas, Kruger also announced that the university would be seeking a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play this coming season.
"With the graduation of Cameron Clark and Tyler Neal on the inside, the timing of this addition is perfect. Now the next step is to address the waiver," Kruger stated. "Our folks will work on the presentation of the waiver immediately and we'll see how that goes."
The hope is that Thomas will bring an instant presence under the board that will help Oklahoma maintain their steady rise within the Big XII ranks that we've seen under Kruger's leadership. The Sooners only won 15 games during Kruger's first season and then bumped that total to 20 in his second. The 23 wins by OU last season showed that this program is on the rise, and that was a major factor in Thomas' decision.
"I've got one year to play so I wanted to go to a program that's already good, a place I could help be even better," Thomas added. "If I went somewhere else, I might be taking a risk as to how good they would be. With OU, they were going to be good whether I chose them or not. But with that said, I feel like I can be a big help to the team."