“We have that window and we’ll find out,” Kruger said. “Obviously we hope it works to where Tay can play right away and yet if it doesn’t, from our perspective, it’s still going to be good.”
If Thomas is able to play this season, it would be a big boost for a team looking to break through and take the next step by winning games in the NCAA Tournament.
He’s the leader to step into the starting lineup to replace the only subtraction from last year’s starters, Clark. Clark averaged 15.6 points and 5.5 rebounds last season.
Thomas isn’t near the outside threat that Clark was, having hit just three 3-pointers in three seasons as a starter with the Cougars compared to Clark’s 37 last season alone.
But Thomas feels like he can still create plenty of matchup problems after averaging 15.4 points and 8.1 rebounds as a junior. Thomas has started every one of his 96 collegiate games.
“I don’t feel like a lot of people my size can guard me,” Thomas said.
Thomas already has settled into his new relationship with Texas.
He says Oklahoma first when mentioning the rivalry, talks about the respect between the programs and doesn’t downplay the significance of playing the Longhorns as a Sooner.
“We played UT my sophomore year of college at Houston and we beat them,” Thomas said. “I’m looking forward to doing that again.
“I’m not a Longhorns fan anymore. I’m ready to play them and beat them.”