STEPHEN M. THOMAS ('66) --- 1981 Inductee --- lettered three years in basketball. Member of the Xavier 1,000-Point Club. Member of the XU Basketball Hall of Fame. Team MVP in 1964 and 1965.
Steve Thomas is still considered by most observers as the best pure shooter in Xavier history. The stats, facts, and stories strongly support that statement.
His coach, Jim McCafferty, commented, "The record proves that he was one of the great shooters of all-time. He just had a great knack of getting himself open and could shoot from anywhere."
Thomas still holds numerous Xavier records, including most points in a game (50 vs. Detroit on January 6, 1964 at Schmidt Fieldhouse), highest season scoring average (30.0 ppg. in 1963-64), highest career scoring average (23.6 ppg.), most field goal attempts in a season (637 in 1963-64), most field goals made in a game (18 in the 1964 game against Detroit), most field goals made in a season (302 in 1963-64), and highest free throw percentage in a game (16-16 for 1.000 against Canisius on January 28, 1964).
The preceding list only begins to tell about Thomas' assault on the Musketeer record book. Thomas, who now stands ninth on the Musketeer all-time scoring list with 1,722 career points, finished his career in first place. In fact, he shattered the old record by almost 400 points.
His sophomore year at Xavier he averaged 16.1 points per game, then exploded on the national scene his junior year with 779 points (second in XU history) for a 30.0 ppg. average (first in XU history). The 30.0 ppg. average put Thomas seventh in the nation in scoring.
Thomas was named Tournament MVP as he led the Musketeers to the 1963 National Catholic Tournament Championship as a sophomore. As a junior, he pumped in a school record 50 points in a school record bashing 121-113 victory over Detroit at Schmidt Fieldhouse.
Unfortunately, Thomas' senior year was one that he never recovered from. After 14 games, and a 28.9 ppg. average, he went down with a knee injury. After receiving a red-shirt that allowed him to play a half season in 1965-66, he tried a comeback. Despite scoring 17.4 ppg., Thomas would play only five games before calling it quits.
Thomas' feats earned him national acclaim, All-America honors, a spot on the NCAA All-Star Team after his junior year, and a tryout with the U.S. Olympic Team. Many opposing coaches stated that he was the best shooter in college basketball in 1964.
Here is a list of some of the more notable honors that the Roger Bacon High School product put together during his stay at Xavier:
1) First Team All-American (1964 Basketball News)
2) First Team All-American (1964 Helms Foundation)
3) The Sporting News All-American
4) AP and UPI All-American
5) MVP of the 1963 National Catholic Tournament
6) 1964 NCAA All-Star Team selected for Olympic Tryouts
7) All-Queen City Tournament (Buffalo Invitational Tournament, 1963)
8) Numerous All-Opponent teams
9) Selected by area coaches as the best player in the Tri-State area in a poll conducted by WCPO-TV
10) Finished seventh in the nation in scoring in 1964 at 30.0 ppg.
11) 1964 All-Catholic All-American
12) Second in the balloting for 1964 Most Outstanding Catholic College Player of the Year.
13) Xavier Team MVP in 1963 and 1964.
THOMAS' XAVIER CAREER STATS
HIGH POINT GAME: School record 50 vs. Detroit (1-6-64) at Schmidt Fieldhouse