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Thomas finishes sixth in All-America voting

Matt Lozar | Friday, November 14, 2003

Coming back to Notre Dame after declaring himself eligible for the NBA Draft as a sophomore, guard Chris Thomas is earning a number of big-time preseason distinctions.

The Associated Press named Thomas on 19 of the 74 ballots in preseason All-American voting, allowing the junior from Indianapolis, Ind. to finish sixth in overall voting.

“He probably should have been first-team quite frankly. I agree with [ESPN basketball analyst Dick] Vitale’s team. I think over the course of the season, [Thomas] will get the individual honors he deserves,” Brey said. “My feeling is we have the best guard in the country here, the best quarterback. He certainly has been a consistent leader and quarterback since we have started practicing in September.”

The list is published on ESPN.com by Vitale. Thomas made Vitale’s all-Rolls Royce First Team, to which Vitale names his top five players.

CNNSI.com writer Stewart Mandel also put Thomas on his preseason first team All-American list.

Cornette to start tonight

After sitting out the exhibition opener against the Hoop Group, forward Jordan Cornette is fully healthy and will start against the Illinois All-Stars.

“My knee’s been healthy since Sunday. Basically, I worked myself in nice and slowly to get back into playing shape,” Cornette said. “Coach [Brey] has put me in by picking his spots. I’m ready to go. I’m 100 percent and I’m looking forward to it.”

Easing back into the lineup was difficult for Cornette last Wednesday having to watch from the bench. Tonight, he’ll be the Notre Dame player with the jitters.

“Some of these guys got to release that stress [last game],” Cornette said. “I had to sit there and watch that one. I’m a week overdue. I can’t wait to get out there and let it all hang out.”

Kurz signs with Irish

Brey signed the first member of his 2004 recruiting class Wednesday with the official commitment of Rob Kurz from William Penn Charter high school in Philadelphia.

“I was really excited [about the signing]. I guess I was really excited last May when he committed, but we made it official yesterday,” Brey said. “I think he’s a guy who is so skilled and has such a good feel for the game as a bigger guy, he’s going to be a guy who has a chance to help us right away.

A 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward, Kurz averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game as a junior last season.

Kurz verbally committed to the Irish on May 5, the same day Thomas declared for the NBA Draft.

Future game time changes

Two games on the Notre Dame schedule have different tip-off times than initially published.

The Dec. 1 game at Marquette has been pushed back to 9 p.m. local time and the home game against Central Michigan on Dec. 6 was also pushed back an hour to a 9 p.m. tip-off.