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Thomas named MVP at banquet

Matt Lozar | Thursday, April 15, 2004

Chris Thomas hobbling up the podium steps at Wednesday night’s men’s basketball banquet – one at a time – exemplified the resiliency that became a common theme for the Irish last season.Thomas had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Friday, and the knee is still immobilized by a brace. But that didn’t keep him from accepting the Notre Dame National Monogram Club MVP Award and providing encouraging words for next season in front of approximately 500 people at the Joyce Center.”I’m tired of hearing how good we are as people. I want to hear about how we can be on the court,” Thomas said. “Next year is a perfect opportunity for us … I can just picture hanging a banner over here [that says] 100 years and hanging a banner over here – Final Four.”Thomas will be kept off the court for the next four months as his knee heals. That challenging task is something Irish coach Mike Brey is letting someone else handle.”That’s Skip Meyer’s job,” Brey said referring to the team’s trainer. “That’s going to be hard for [Thomas], but he knows it’s the only way he can do it.”Wednesday night was also a chance for Irish seniors Torrian Jones and Tom Timmermans to say goodbye and thank everyone who helped them in their four years with the Irish. Both talked about how they will take more away from their time at Notre Dame than just what happened on the basketball court.”When I look back on my four years,” Timmermans said, “I would not have any thoughts about going anywhere else than the University of Notre Dame. This place is so wonderful.”For Jones, a special moment for him came on Senior Night. After showering and leaving the locker room, he greeted fans in the hallway – fans he didn’t know personally – and received some words to remember from his high school coach.”My coach told me, ‘What just happened is what a college career is all about is knowing that something so small as basketball can affect people’s lives and put a smile on their faces,'” Jones said. “That’s what your college career is all about.”In a year that ended with Brey’s team not advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time in his four years at Notre Dame, it would seem this year could have been the most disappointing for him.But Wednesday night, he expressed his pride in his team.”I don’t know if I’ve ever felt better about a group giving us everything we asked on a daily basis,” Brey said. The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley awarded its Rockne-Student Athlete Award to sophomore guard Chris Quinn.