TCU head coach Jamie Dixon was surprised Thomas’ jersey wasn’t retired when he first stepped foot in Schollmaier Arena.
“I came back and I was looking for Kurt’s jersey up in the stadium thinking, ‘Where’s his number? Where’s he at?” Dixon said. “When I was told TCU hadn’t retired it…I guess when you’re playing 17 years in the NBA, you’re a little busy on Friday’s and Saturday’s.”
Thomas was humbled and surprised by TCU’s gesture.
“This is so special, and I never thought this day would happen,” Thomas said. “To see my number being retired at this university, it means everything because it really lets me know that the hard work that I’ve put in to get from the beginning to the end to this day was definitely worth it.”
Thomas played outstanding basketball when he was wearing his Horned Frog uniform from 1990 to 1995. His 1,512 points rank seventh all-time at TCU and his 782 rebounds rank eighth.
In his senior season in Fort Worth, Thomas’ game advanced to another level. During the 1994–95 season, Thomas led the NCAA in both scoring and rebound with 28.9 PPG and 14.6 RPG. He was named a Third-Team All-American in 1995 and became the 10th overall pick in the NBA Draft.
“No one even considered me going in the first round of the draft when I got to college,” Thomas said. “I was able to have some success out there on the floor and mess around and get drafted.”
In the NBA, Thomas’ career faced a few obstacles.
“I got off to a slow start my second and third year in the league, and I broke my ankle four times in a period of two years,” Thomas said. “So, a lot of people thought that my career was over, but I was able to find a way to get healthy and swill play another fifteen years.”
The Dallas native plans to stay local in the post-basketball phase of his life.
“I do a lot of work in the community,” Thomas said. “As far as the program, I’ll try to give back whatever, whatever coach needs from me, or if the players ask for my advice, I’m definitely there and I definitely have an open ear for them.”
As he took in TCU’s 78-63 victory over Texas Saturday, Thomas said he liked what he saw from the current Horned Frogs squad and their head coach.
“It seems like the team is really having fun playing together, and they share the ball, it really moves.” Thomas said. “In just his first year, you always have to be patient with a coach in his first season, but right now he’s doing an excellent job.”