If you are not watching Tre’Shawn Thurman, you are doing it wrong

You are probably not keeping track, and that is cool, but the 11th post on this blog was about Rylan Murry, so it only makes sense to have the 15th post be about Tre’Shawn Thurman.

NebraskaHSHoops.com sends out a tweet.  Verbal Commits updates the information on their website.  The Omaha World Herald writes a short article.  Omaha Central Forward Tre’Shawn Thurman picked the up and coming UNO Mavericks.  I text a friend of mine, who coaches high school and middle school basketball in Omaha, “Thurman is going to UNO.”  Not even a minute later my friend replies, “Whoa!  He’s going to be an immediate impact.  He will instantly replace (Justin) Simmons.  Huge pick up for the Mavs”

It was late in the signing period when Tre’Shawn Thurman committed to UNO, but it was quite possibly the biggest grab the Mavericks ever got in men’s basketball.  I really had written Thurman off for coming to UNO.  I just thought he was too much of a talent for UNO.  He was either the best or the second best player in the state of Nebraska, alongside Benson’s Khryi Thomas, so I just did not imagine him coming to UNO.  His 2012-2013 Omaha Central team, with some enough practice hours put in, could have beat UNO’s 2012-2013 team.  The first time I saw a highlight video, I could see instantly that he was a special player.  Was he going to be at a Power 6 school?  Not sure, but I thought at least a Missouri Valley, Athletic 10, Mountain West type of guy.

We can admit it, there is no athlete growing up in Omaha with dreams of playing at UNO.  They did after all, just become division one a few years ago.  That is kind of student life for UNO when you think about it.  Many local kids grow up thinking they will go to Nebraska, Creighton, Iowa, Iowa State, or somewhere far away, but they learn more about UNO while they are in high school and see what the university has to offer.  It grows on you.  I had the choice of going to UNO or Creighton, due to financial reasons, I picked UNO, and I have never looked back at it as a poor decision.  I would probably be a different person if I went to Creighton.  Sometimes I think Creighton’s student recruitment slogan should be:  Why come to Creighton?  There is really no other place out there that you are going to become a bigger asshole…

For whatever reason, the bigger schools weren’t offering, but now for the best, Tre’Shawn is a Maverick.  He has the potential to be the greatest Maverick of all time.  Thurman can do a little bit of everything.  He can score from anywhere on the court, handle the ball, defend the perimeter, defend the post, post up on offense.  Through the first years of transition, UNO has never had a chance with a kid like this, and I can not really think of anyone they’ve ever had at his size that can do what he is capable of. 

My wife grew up on the West Coast, played division one softball, also played basketball in high school, so she has seen her fair share of star athletes, she played against Monica Abbott in college…  She’s seems to not get too impressed when she sees some local players in action.  She’s only been WOWed by a few UNO athletes that had her say “that player is really good” or something related.  Allie Matthewson in softball, CJ Carter, and now Tre’Shawn Thurman have really been the only players that have stuck out as players that have impressed her with their play.  By the way: my wife teaches a few courses at UNO so either way you look at it, it’s not a bad thing as a UNO person to impress her…

There has been some inconsistency for Thurman so far, but what college freshman doesn’t have that?  Many of the seniors around the Summit League have had a handful of bad games so far this season.  Some locals knew Thurman by name since he was a three time state champion at Omaha Central, but it’s never a guarantee that someone’s skills will transfer to the next level, so it is not like everyone knew right away what UNO had picked up in a player like Thurman.  Thurman came off the bench his first game.  He showed some promise with 7 points and 2 rebounds in the game and he never looked nervous in that first game like many freshmen can look.

An injury to Jake White in the opener opened the door for Thurman to become a starter.  No one was happy about White getting hurt, at least I hope not, but I felt happy that we as fans could get a real look at Thurman with his new responsibilities as a member of the starting five.  Ten points and eight rebounds in your first start isn’t bad, 4 of 13 isn’t ideal, but still, it was his first game as a starter and it was on the road in Seattle.  The Mavs lost that game by 24, so I don’t really think casual basketball fans really saw ten points and eight rebounds as a success.  Then in what was the program’s biggest win, he gets 12 points and 7 rebounds and shoots 6 of 7 in 21 minutes.  If people did not think that Thurman was for real after just his third game, I am not sure if they were paying any attention at all.

In his first home start, it was freaking crazy watching Thurman.  He had some new goggles, I commented that he looked like Invisible Boy from Mystery Men, and he did a little bit, but I had to go look it back up, Kel Mitchell has dyed blonde hair in that film.  Forgive me for not remembering every detail of an awful 1999 film.  Nevada had former Benson Bunny Tyron Criswell on the team, which drew in a crowd of 1723, UNO’s biggest home attendance on the season so far, and Thurman put on a show for everyone to see.  18 points, 6 of 9 from the floor, two threes, five blocks.  That five blocks is the most that any player has had in a game for UNO since the transition (Taijhe Kelly has had 8 blocks twice for the women).  Thurman had so many people in Ralston Arena asking – He’s really only a freshman?  How did they get him?  Do you remember when LeBron James’ Cavaliers were playing Stan Van Gundy’s Magic in the playoffs and Van Gundy kept saying that James was doing things in the series that were unbelievable?  That’s what I was saying about Thurman after that game.  Side note:  Every time Gary Sharp says “…if you’re keeping score at home…” I feel like it is a personal jab at me.  I’m probably just paranoid though.

Yeah, okay, maybe...
The original Invisible Boy

By the way, a weird stat:  In home games with an attendance of 1200+, Thurman shoots 59% from the floor, in home or away games with attendances less than 1200, he shoots 42% from the field.  In all games with an attendance for 1200+, Thurman shoots 51% from the floor, and he also shoots 60% from three.  In the five games that UNO has played with an attendance of less than 1200, he has shot 42%, and 25% from three.  Is any of this significant?  I am not sure, I can barely read, but what I do know is that we need to get more people to come see this kid.

If you read about my man crush on Rylan Murry, you would have seen that when UNO first took to division one I started following all the high school and junior college players that the Mavericks had on their recruiting radar.  I quickly found this was a poor action on my part because high school kids are incredibly immature, and following a bunch of 16 to 18 year olds on social media is pretty creepy when you are approaching thirty years old.  Most of these kids just seem so whiny, they don’t really want to work for things, and they want everything handed to them.  That’s kind of true for American culture in general, but I’ve never seen Thurman be whiny.

I see him on Twitter talking about putting in work to get better in school.  I saw him on Twitter talking about putting in work to get better on the basketball court.  Thurman puts in work.  Before the season, he took pride in being a division one athlete, and being a college student, frequently snapping pictures of his new UNO gear and post work out stuff.  Yeah, it is creepy to follow college kids on twitter.  Seriously kids, you need to learn to not put everything out there.  But after struggling at Chicago State, going 1 of 7 from the floor and 2 of 8 from the free throw line, what did he post?

 · Dec 29

I gotta work on FT it’s a must

By the way, the attendance at that Chicago State game:  342, the lowest of any game the Mavs played this season.

When you watch Thurman play, after a missed shot, or a turnover, or a missed opportunity at a rebound, you can see the pain in his eyes.  He’s not a player that just says “aww gee that sucks.”  He’s a young man that accepts ownership and responsibilities for things that don’t go right.  That is becoming a rare find now a days.  When you read about how Thurman asks questions and listens to everything that guys like Mike Rostampour have to tell him, you know he wants to get better and be the best that he can be.  He is not an eighteen or nineteen year old know it all who thinks he has it all figured out already, he accepts that he does not already know everything he needs to know.  That is also a rare find in young kids now a days.  If I were in the same shoes as Thurman, not literally, I know would be incredibly motivated to get better every day in front of my hometown fans.  Hey remember that time Creighton did not offer me a scholarship?  How about that instance Nebraska did not give me an offer?  You were wrong about me, I will show you.


If UNO never made the transition, Thurman would have never became a UNO Maverick.  Maybe he would have became a walk on at Creighton or Nebraska, or maybe a scholarship player at a mid-major in a city you have never heard of.  But Thurman is a Maverick, and just like the UNO athletic program, he is only going to get better.  UNO fans and Omahans that are not die hard Mav fans need to appreciate this while we have it.


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