BROOKLYN, N.Y.. — Khyri Thomas became Creighton’s third men’s basketball player in five years to be selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., when the 6-foot-3 guard was drafted No. 38 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. Thomas was traded almost immediately to the Detroit Pistons, where he will join former Bluejay Anthony Tolliver (class of 2007). Tolliver is a 12-year NBA veteran that has played for the Pistons in three of the past four seasons.
Thomas is the first Creighton product ever drafted by the 76ers. Past players selected 38th overall in the NBA Draft include Steve Blake (2003), Chandler Parsons (2011) and Eduardo Najera (2000).
An Omaha native, Thomas averaged 15.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for the Bluejays in 2017-18, which earned him Second Team All-BIG EAST acclaim. He led the team with 56 steals (1.7 spg.) and 31.7 minutes per game, and shot 53.8 percent from the field, 41.1 percent from three-point range and 78.8 percent at the line.
In league play Thomas ranked third in the conference in steals per game, fifth in both field goal percentage and three-point percentage, ninth in assist/turnover ratio, 10th in minutes per game, 14th in assists per game and in three-pointers per game, and 16th in points per game. He was also the first BIG EAST player in more than a dozen years to rank among the top-five in both steals per game and field goal percentage in conference action.
The 6-foot-3 guard also was a lockdown defender, becoming just the 10th player in BIG EAST history to be named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year multiple times to join the likes of Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson and Kris Dunn. Due in part to Thomas’ defensive impact, the 11 players named to the All-BIG EAST Conference team averaged 15.2 points per game against Creighton, compared to 18.9 points per game in all other league contests.
Thomas played in 102 games at Creighton, starting 96 of them. He closed his Bluejay career ranked 10th with 141 steals and 30th with 1,140 career points.
Thomas is Creighton’s eighth NBA Second Round pick in history, and first since 2003 when Kyle Korver went 51st overall in to the New Jersey Nets. Thomas became the fourth consecutive Bluejay traded on draft night, joining Justin Patton (2017), Doug McDermott (2014) and Korver (2003). Patton was part of a five-person trade that saw him join All-Star Jimmy Butler join the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the No.7 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft (Lauri Markkanen), Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. McDermott was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 2014, but sent that night to the Chicago Bulls. McDermott now plays for the Dallas Mavericks. Korver, meanwhile went from the Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers on draft day in 2003.
Coached by Greg McDermott, Creighton went 21-12 in 2017-18. The Bluejays tied for third place in the BIG EAST Conference and reached the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.