Back when Mike Matheny was managing the Cardinals, there was a rumor that his general manager would trade away players simply to stop Matheny from giving them playing time. (Surprisingly, Matheny eventually got fired.)
That pretty well sums up my thoughts on Trey Thomas entering the transfer portal this offseason. Thomas came in as a lightly-recruited freshman and shot 39.8 percent from three. That was fine. But when Thomas was shooting 30.1 percent from three, as he did in 2022-23... well, he wasn’t contributing much else. Sure, he played hard on the defensive end, but generously listed at 6’0” and 160 pounds, he was really limited in who he could guard. And he couldn’t play the point.
He was the kind of player who, on the depleted roster that Jerry Stackhouse inherited from Bryce Drew (and that was further depleted after his first season with the departures of Saben Lee and Aaron Nesmith to the NBA), was a useful player to have around to soak up minutes and sink a few three-pointers, but he shouldn’t have still been playing so many minutes as the roster got back up to an SEC level; instead, Thomas played a career-high 23.1 minutes per game while posting a career-worst 43.8% effective field goal percentage. He did score in double figures seven times in 18 SEC games; he also scored three points or fewer in nine games. When he was off, he was really off. And even worse, he didn’t stop shooting on the off nights; in two games against Alabama, he shot 1-for-17 from the floor.
Honestly, the real problem here is that the guys who probably should have taken his minutes — Shane Dezonie (2021-22) and Noah Shelby (2022-23) — just didn’t. Those two are both out of the program, and now, Thomas himself is.