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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 10:50 pm

Former Hoosier star Daryl Thomas, 52, dies

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON  —  Daryl Thomas, a two-time All-Big Ten forward and a member of Indiana's 1987 national championship team, died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 52.

Thomas averaged 15.7 points per game as a senior in 1986-87 and scored 20 points in the 74-73 title game victory over Syracuse that season. He had the game-winning assist, passing the ball to Keith Smart for his deciding jump shot.

"Ever since that 1987 championship game, I’ve always called that the greatest single play I ever had a kid make: giving up the ball and setting the screen that got the man open for the shot that won a national championship,” then-coach Bob Knight said in a statement.

“That was Daryl — absolutely unselfish. His attitude and his play on the court are what I always remember about him — that and how really great a kid he was. I just feel sick about hearing this and very bad for his family, his team and everyone around him.”

Thomas ended his career at Indiana with 1,095 points and is currently 47th on the all-time Hoosier scoring list. After he left Indiana, the Sacramento Kings picked him in the sixth round of the NBA Draft, but he never played in the NBA, instead spending 13 seasons as a professional in Europe and South America.

Since 2015, Thomas had been the head coach at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Illinois. He grew up in Westchester, Illinois, and played at St. Joseph High School, earning McDonald's All-American honors in 1983. 

Thomas is survived by his wife, Marta, and his three children, Kayla, Kyle, and Adam.