ITH Super Happy Fun Time Top 10 List: Isiah Thomas

  • 08/18/2008 8:00 am in

isiah.jpgThe ballots have been counted and it’s time for Inside the Hall’s countdown of the greatest Indiana players of all-time. Today: No. 3: Isiah Thomas.

Years at Indiana: 1979-1981

The numbers: 968 points (15.1 average); 356 assists (5.6 average); 136 steals (2.1 average)

Career highs: 39 points (February 28, 1981 vs. Michigan); 14 assists (March 14, 1981 vs. Maryland); 5 steals (four different occasions)

Notable achievements: All-American (1981); First team All-Big Ten (1980, 1981); Indiana Hall of Fame (1993); Big Ten champion (1980, 1981); National champion (1981)

The case for Thomas: Fortunately for Zeke, we’re not accounting for his abilities to run a NBA franchise. Instead, we’ll focus on his single season school record for assists (197), career 53% shooting from the field, two Big Ten championships and a NCAA championship in 1981.

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  • MPmike

    Isiah Thomas was the best guard All-time at IU. He could possibly be the best All-time player too.

    Isiah is probably the last NBA superstar that came out of IU. Hopefully, Eric Gordon will break this very long and dissappointing drought. In the past, Duke was one of the those programs that had great college players but medicore NBA players at best. Duke is now having players doing great things ala-Carlos Boozer, maybe Elton Brand, so now it's IU's turn.

  • MPmike

    Isiah Thomas was the best guard All-time at IU. He could possibly be the best All-time player too.

    Isiah is probably the last NBA superstar that came out of IU. Hopefully, Eric Gordon will break this very long and dissappointing drought. In the past, Duke was one of the those programs that had great college players but medicore NBA players at best. Duke is now having players doing great things ala-Carlos Boozer, maybe Elton Brand, so now it's IU's turn.

  • MPmike

    IU's Top 5 All-star team by positions

    (Guards) (Forwards) (Centers) (All-TIme Team)
    1. Isiah Thomas 1–Calbert Cheaney 1)Walt Bellamy G- Isiah Thomas
    2. Steve Alford 2–George McGinnis 2) Don Schlundt G- Steve Alford
    3. Jay Edwards 3–Scott May 3)Kent Benson C- Walt Bellamy
    4. Jimmy Rayl 4–Alan Henderson 4) Bill Garrett F- Calbert Cheaney
    5. Quinn Buckner 5–Mike Woodson 5)Uwe Blab F- Scott May

  • MPmike

    IU's Top 5 All-star team by positions

    (Guards) (Forwards) (Centers) (All-TIme Team)
    1. Isiah Thomas 1–Calbert Cheaney 1)Walt Bellamy G- Isiah Thomas
    2. Steve Alford 2–George McGinnis 2) Don Schlundt G- Steve Alford
    3. Jay Edwards 3–Scott May 3)Kent Benson C- Walt Bellamy
    4. Jimmy Rayl 4–Alan Henderson 4) Bill Garrett F- Calbert Cheaney
    5. Quinn Buckner 5–Mike Woodson 5)Uwe Blab F- Scott May

  • indiananorthshore

    He was the best!! They beat some really talented teams in the tourney, Maryland,LSU and UNC. He was a man among boys. Had that MJ competitive attitude. In all due respect to the two guys who will finish 1 and 2, Woodson and Chaney not even close. Nobody had his fire!

  • indiananorthshore

    He was the best!! They beat some really talented teams in the tourney, Maryland,LSU and UNC. He was a man among boys. Had that MJ competitive attitude. In all due respect to the two guys who will finish 1 and 2, Woodson and Chaney not even close. Nobody had his fire!

  • indiananorthshore

    Sorry I forgot to include the guy who will be number one Scott May

  • indiananorthshore

    Sorry I forgot to include the guy who will be number one Scott May

  • Millport

    Zeke, as he is known, was a great competitor. IU was 26-9 that year. I think that is still the most losses by a champion.
    Probably the best guard in IU history, everyone is entitiled to their opinion.
    There was great support around Zeke; Turner, Thomas, Tolbert, Kitchel. and others.
    Scott May, obviously had great support around him.
    Cheaney did not quite have that support, in my opinon.

  • Millport

    Zeke, as he is known, was a great competitor. IU was 26-9 that year. I think that is still the most losses by a champion.
    Probably the best guard in IU history, everyone is entitiled to their opinion.
    There was great support around Zeke; Turner, Thomas, Tolbert, Kitchel. and others.
    Scott May, obviously had great support around him.
    Cheaney did not quite have that support, in my opinon.

  • gregmquinn

    I don't know about that. Greg Graham was first team all Big Ten during his senior season. Damon Bailey had a great career at IU and so did Alan Henderson. All three of those guys were star-level players alongside Cheaney.

    Additionally, Matt Nover posted the best field goal percentage in IU history on the '93 team, Chris Reynolds was an outstanding defender and ball handler coming off the bench and though he was injured a lot, Pat Graham was an impact player off the bench.

    Sadly, we were a little thin inside. Fundeburke and Lawson leaving cost us legitmate shots at 2 titles, but the '93 team is still my all time favorite.

  • gregmquinn

    I don't know about that. Greg Graham was first team all Big Ten during his senior season. Damon Bailey had a great career at IU and so did Alan Henderson. All three of those guys were star-level players alongside Cheaney.

    Additionally, Matt Nover posted the best field goal percentage in IU history on the '93 team, Chris Reynolds was an outstanding defender and ball handler coming off the bench and though he was injured a lot, Pat Graham was an impact player off the bench.

    Sadly, we were a little thin inside. Fundeburke and Lawson leaving cost us legitmate shots at 2 titles, but the '93 team is still my all time favorite.

  • indiananorthshore

    I agree with your assessment on Chaeny.
    May played with guys who had fairly long and successful NBA careers like Buckner, Wilkerson, Benson.
    Zeke played with players other than Woodson his freshman year who were so so NBA players with short careers who were benefactors of the General's system. In my opinion Zeke made those guys better.

  • indiananorthshore

    I agree with your assessment on Chaeny.
    May played with guys who had fairly long and successful NBA careers like Buckner, Wilkerson, Benson.
    Zeke played with players other than Woodson his freshman year who were so so NBA players with short careers who were benefactors of the General's system. In my opinion Zeke made those guys better.

  • indiananorthshore

    Great point, I think Graham may have been a first round pick along with Henderson. Not quite sure

  • indiananorthshore

    Great point, I think Graham may have been a first round pick along with Henderson. Not quite sure

  • DJW

    Isiah may have been the best guard in IU's history and like everyone else… I wish he could have played longer in order to appreciate his value over a longer span.

    On the other hand, I have been dissapointed in his character and personality as an NBA player and his later accomplishments off the court as an NBA executive.This probably should not distract from his outstanding BB career at IU.

  • DJW

    Isiah may have been the best guard in IU's history and like everyone else… I wish he could have played longer in order to appreciate his value over a longer span.

    On the other hand, I have been dissapointed in his character and personality as an NBA player and his later accomplishments off the court as an NBA executive.This probably should not distract from his outstanding BB career at IU.

  • B_MD

    You're right. Cheaney, Greg Graham and Henderson were all first round picks.

    I always thought Graham would have made a better pro. I thought he was going to be a solid rotation players for a long time. He could shoot, play d and was very athletic. I remember he had some really good games in limited opportunities with Philadelphia, then I think he got traded to Seattle but never got much of a chance, and then that was that.

  • BGleas

    You're right. Cheaney, Greg Graham and Henderson were all first round picks.

    I always thought Graham would have made a better pro. I thought he was going to be a solid rotation players for a long time. He could shoot, play d and was very athletic. I remember he had some really good games in limited opportunities with Philadelphia, then I think he got traded to Seattle but never got much of a chance, and then that was that.

  • gregmquinn

    Greg Graham was the #17 pick of the Charlottel Hornets in the first round of the '93 draft. I think he lasted about as long as Kirk Haston did. Henderson was the #16 pick of the '95 draft.

  • gregmquinn

    Greg Graham was the #17 pick of the Charlottel Hornets in the first round of the '93 draft. I think he lasted about as long as Kirk Haston did. Henderson was the #16 pick of the '95 draft.

  • TomCoverdaleIUHero

    You may not like his personality as an NBA player but he is easily one of the most underrated players in NBA history they're have not been to many players that have been able to do what he has done on the court while in the NBA sure he didnt win many championships but its hard to win against teams with a minimum of 3 hall of famers in the lakers and celtics but at least he can say he won 2 championships in the best era ever in the NBA scored 40 points or whatever in a single half on a severly sprained ankle in the playoffs this guy was incredible im to young to remember him at IU im only 19 but i have seen this guy play NBA games and he was incredible very much like what chris paul will end up being Zeke is easily my favorite Hoosier of all time and Tom Coverdale is ina close second place

  • TomCoverdaleIUHero

    You may not like his personality as an NBA player but he is easily one of the most underrated players in NBA history they're have not been to many players that have been able to do what he has done on the court while in the NBA sure he didnt win many championships but its hard to win against teams with a minimum of 3 hall of famers in the lakers and celtics but at least he can say he won 2 championships in the best era ever in the NBA scored 40 points or whatever in a single half on a severly sprained ankle in the playoffs this guy was incredible im to young to remember him at IU im only 19 but i have seen this guy play NBA games and he was incredible very much like what chris paul will end up being Zeke is easily my favorite Hoosier of all time and Tom Coverdale is ina close second place

  • B_MD

    Graham was traded to Philly though during or right after the draft. I know he didn't last long, but he was around a little longer than Haston I think. I'm pretty sure he had a few 20 point night for Philly.

  • BGleas

    Graham was traded to Philly though during or right after the draft. I know he didn't last long, but he was around a little longer than Haston I think. I'm pretty sure he had a few 20 point night for Philly.

  • B_MD

    Just replying to your “he didn't win many championships” comment. Two titles, especially back-to-back is plenty. Not a lot of guys lead teams to back-to-back titles.

    I personally don't care for Isiah (although I think it's a huge plus to have him active in the program as an active supporter), but he is one of the greatest point guards of all time.

  • BGleas

    Just replying to your “he didn't win many championships” comment. Two titles, especially back-to-back is plenty. Not a lot of guys lead teams to back-to-back titles.

    I personally don't care for Isiah (although I think it's a huge plus to have him active in the program as an active supporter), but he is one of the greatest point guards of all time.

  • TomCoverdaleIUHero

    i said that lol reread my post “but at least he can say he won 2 championships in the best era ever in the NBA” haha

  • TomCoverdaleIUHero

    i said that lol reread my post “but at least he can say he won 2 championships in the best era ever in the NBA” haha

  • DJW

    Keep in mind that we are voting on the greatest Indiana University players of all time.

    I'm not sure that we should use these player's NBA careers to measure their value to their I.U. careers.

    I have been rating the players based on how they performed as members of their IU program and how during their I. U. careers they contibuted to I.U. success.

    Am I using the wrong criteria on which to base my votes?

  • DJW

    Keep in mind that we are voting on the greatest Indiana University players of all time.

    I'm not sure that we should use these player's NBA careers to measure their value to their I.U. careers.

    I have been rating the players based on how they performed as members of their IU program and how during their I. U. careers they contibuted to I.U. success.

    Am I using the wrong criteria on which to base my votes?

  • daveINdc

    In regards to Cheaney's lack of support…. his teammates included:
    92-93
    Pat Graham – 89 Mr Basketball – McDonalds AA(ranked 12th in US)
    Greg Graham – McDonalds AA– (ranked 60th in US)
    Damon Baily – 90 Mr Basketball (EA National HS BBall Player of Year) McDonalds AA
    Cheaney (ranked 58th in US)
    Henderson (ranked 6th in US) McDonalds AllAmerican
    Nover (Indiana All Star team – as were all of the above players))
    Evans
    Chris Reynolds (ranked 48th in US)
    Would have been seniors but transferred – #7 Funderburke, #44 Chris Lawson)

    FOUR McDonalds All Americans and two other s that were top 60 in the US and Brian Evans……….not too shabby.

  • daveINdc

    In regards to Cheaney's lack of support…. his teammates included:
    92-93
    Pat Graham – 89 Mr Basketball – McDonalds AA(ranked 12th in US)
    Greg Graham – McDonalds AA– (ranked 60th in US)
    Damon Baily – 90 Mr Basketball (EA National HS BBall Player of Year) McDonalds AA
    Cheaney (ranked 58th in US)
    Henderson (ranked 6th in US) McDonalds AllAmerican
    Nover (Indiana All Star team – as were all of the above players))
    Evans
    Chris Reynolds (ranked 48th in US)
    Would have been seniors but transferred – #7 Funderburke, #44 Chris Lawson)

    FOUR McDonalds All Americans and two other s that were top 60 in the US and Brian Evans……….not too shabby.

  • gregmquinn

    You are right. I just looked it up and while Graham only averaged 12 minutes and 4.5 points per game he was around the league during 5 seasons.

    By the way, in no way was I making fun of Graham or Haston. I loved both of those guys.

  • gregmquinn

    You are right. I just looked it up and while Graham only averaged 12 minutes and 4.5 points per game he was around the league during 5 seasons.

    By the way, in no way was I making fun of Graham or Haston. I loved both of those guys.

  • gregmquinn

    In fairness though, Pat Graham, Evans and Henderson were each hurt for significant portions of the '93 season.

  • gregmquinn

    In fairness though, Pat Graham, Evans and Henderson were each hurt for significant portions of the '93 season.

  • MPmike

    The 1993 was the last talented team (as far as pure stars and talent)that Bob Knight assembled and the last one for IU. The past 2007 team was suppose to measure up to the1993 team, but we all know the rest of the story.

  • MPmike

    The 1993 was the last talented team (as far as pure stars and talent)that Bob Knight assembled and the last one for IU. The past 2007 team was suppose to measure up to the1993 team, but we all know the rest of the story.

  • MPmike

    Isiah was the toughest competitor ever. He just willed his teams to win.

  • MPmike

    Isiah was the toughest competitor ever. He just willed his teams to win.

  • B_MD

    That's very true, and why I hate the “Bob Knight won with less talent” argument.

    I know I'm opening a can of worms here :), but it's a slow summer. It is true that Knight's teams after 1993 were less talented, but they also weren't really title contenders either. When Knight had highly ranked teams (I mean top 5 to top 10) that were competing for national titles, he also had extremely high ranked and talented recruits.

  • BGleas

    That's very true, and why I hate the “Bob Knight won with less talent” argument.

    I know I'm opening a can of worms here :), but it's a slow summer. It is true that Knight's teams after 1993 were less talented, but they also weren't really title contenders either. When Knight had highly ranked teams (I mean top 5 to top 10) that were competing for national titles, he also had extremely high ranked and talented recruits.

  • MPmike

    The 1993 was the last talented team (as far as pure stars and talent)that Bob Knight assembled and the last one for IU. The past 2007 team was suppose to measure up to the1993 team, but we all know the rest of the story.

  • MPmike

    Isiah was the toughest competitor ever. He just willed his teams to win.

  • BGleas

    That's very true, and why I hate the “Bob Knight won with less talent” argument.

    I know I'm opening a can of worms here :), but it's a slow summer. It is true that Knight's teams after 1993 were less talented, but they also weren't really title contenders either. When Knight had highly ranked teams (I mean top 5 to top 10) that were competing for national titles, he also had extremely high ranked and talented recruits.