I admit, I am a bit floored that Trey Thomas ended up fifth on the Vanderbilt basketball team in minutes played in 2020-21. That an afterthought in the 2020 recruiting class — Thomas signed in July, if I’m remembering the timeline correctly — wound up playing more minutes than D.J. Harvey or Clevon Brown, two players who I had penciled into the starting lineup entering last season, was certainly an unexpected development.
But it was obvious from early on that Jerry Stackhouse knew something that we didn’t. Thomas announced his presence pretty early, in the third game of the season, playing 27 minutes and dropping 15 points on 5-of-10 from the floor against Richmond. He got the first of his three starts in the SEC opener against Florida and scored 12 points, had a season-high 17 points in a loss to Mississippi State on January 9, and shot 7-of-12 from three-point range in Vanderbilt’s two games in the SEC Tournament, scoring 21 points in 34 minutes of action between the two games.
In between, there was a lot of inconsistency, but you expect that from a freshman. In 16 SEC games, Thomas scored in double figures four times and was held scoreless the same number of times. He shot nearly 40 percent from three-point range... and 27 percent inside the arc. He was surprisingly foul-prone for a guard — on the season, he committed 51 fouls, the third-highest number on the team, and the two players who committed more also played significantly more minutes. And at 5’11” and 165 pounds, Thomas doesn’t appear to be a point guard.
In some ways, Thomas looks like a classic example of a guy who has a surprisingly decent freshman year for a team that’s early in a rebuild before ceding minutes later on as the coach brings in better players — but as of now, I’m not sure who those better players are, and he certainly showed enough ability in 2020-21 to be a valuable role player as a shooter off the bench down the road, and there’s an off chance he could develop into something better than that.