”We are truly excited to have someone of Bud’s ability choose to come play for our program next year,” said Hoffman. “He exemplifies what we want to be as a team and as an institution.
“He’s proven to be a winner on and off the court. He will fit in great and will help us continue to accomplish the goals we are striving for."
Thomas led Regis Jesuit to back-to-back state of Colorado 5A championships. He was Colorado’s 5A “Mr. Basketball” in both 2009 and 2010 by the Denver Post, while also being named as the Gatorade State of Colorado “Player of the Year” those same two seasons. He is a three-time all-state selection (second team in 2008), a three-time first team All-Continental League pick and a three-time Aurora all-city award winner.
Thomas joins a fraternity of just four players – Chucky Sproiling, Matt Bouldin and Chauncy Billups are the others – to win back-to-back “Mr. Basketball” honors and Gatorade “Player of the Year” for the state of Colorado. Thomas and Bouldin are the only two players to also garner consecutive state titles to go along with those individual accolades.
Thomas was named all-tournament for the Colorado state championships as a junior and senior, earning the 5A tourney “MVP” award in 2009.
The Highlands Ranch, Colo., native may also be remembered by many for his game-winning shot in the 2009 semi-final game which helped RJHS into its first-ever state title game. The half-court heave as regulation expired – which was featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter – sent his team into overtime versus ThunderRidge High School, a game Regis Jesuit would eventually win by 10 points.
In his three varsity seasons, Thomas’ teams were a combined 72-11 (.867), including a sterling 27-1 mark this past year as a senior when he averaged 20.5 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks per game en route to another 5A crown. RJHS was Colorado’s No. 1 ranked team and also rose to No. 7 in USA Today’s West Region poll.
“We’ve had great team success during Bud’s three years here and he’s been the face of our team,” said RJHS head coach Ken Shaw. “We think Mercer is a great fit for him and we want to see him do well.
“He is a great young man, obviously a talented basketball player, a great teammate and he brings out the best in the other players on his team. I’m not sure you can say that about too many players. He is willing to do whatever is needed to make the team better and has a tremendous work ethic.
“Combine all of those things and I think you have a pretty good package!”
Thomas carried a 3.75 grade point average at Regis Jesuit. He intends to major in business upon entering Mercer.