NORMAN — TaShawn Thomas didn’t know what to think when the phone rang and Oklahoma assistant Lew Hill was on the other end.
Thomas’ head was still spinning after deciding to leave Houston after three productive seasons following the departure of James Dickey as the Cougars’ coach.
The native of Killeen, Texas, didn’t think he’d play for any college other than Houston and never thought he’d wind up a Sooner.
“Growing up in Texas, you’re always a Longhorns fan,” Thomas said. “So when OU called, I thought that’d be weird if I actually went there.”
But as the process of selecting another school went on, it became clear for Thomas that OU made the most sense.
Thomas wanted to go to a good team and Oklahoma certainly is that, having been to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments and with most of its rotation returning next season.
He wanted to go to somewhere where he was needed and with Cam Clark’s departure, the Sooners could certainly use a forward with some flexibility in his game like the 6-foot-8 Thomas.
And nowhere else he visited made Thomas feel more at home than Norman.
“He’s a great kid and a good basketball talent,” Sooners caoch Lon Kruger said. “He’s mature. Everyone we’ve talked to from his high school days to the University of Houston were very, very impressed with him as a person and as a player.”
Thomas is appealing to the NCAA for immediate eligibility this season. The NCAA has recently granted waivers with regularity for players whose coaches were fired or otherwise left the programs.
An upcoming rule change will make the waivers extremely rare, though Thomas will still be considered under the present rules.