12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 12, 1998
Year after freshman award, Thomas hasn't slowed a step
By Tracy Sandler
Daily Sports Writer
The title 'Big Ten freshman of the
year' can bring lots of pressure. It's
commonly referred to as the "sopho-
more jinx." But Michigan basketball
player Stacey Thomas has been able
to avoid the dreaded curse.
"I didn't feel any pressure,"
Thomas said. "I just wanted to come
in and contribute as much as I
And contribute, she has. The
sophomore guard has been averaging
12.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per
game, which is second on the team.
"Last year, not a lot of people
knew about Stacey," Michigan coach
Sue Guevara said. "She wasn't even a
preseason candidate for Big Ten
freshman of the year, but then she did
really well last year," averaging 12.9
points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
"The 'sophomore jinx,' if you will,
happens maybe to kids who put a lot
of pressure on themselves and to kids
who don't really work on their game.
"Stacey worked on her game. She's
got a long way to go yet, but she's a
competitor, and she knows the role
she has on this team. She's been able
to carry that out. She's got a lot of
pride in her game. I don't think
Stacey even thinks about the sopho-
more jinx. That's about other peo-
According to Guevara, Thomas
represents the type of player that she
is glad to have on her side. She does-
n't have to play against her.
"I love to watch her play," Guevara
said. "1 love to watch her fly down
the court, rebound the ball and take it
the length of the court. One of my
favorite things about Stacey is her
smile. She's got a great smile."
Coaches always tell their players
that they need to practice the same
way that they want to play. In terms
of Thomas, that is the philosophy she
uses when working on her game.
"Stacey is a very good practice
player, as well as a gamer," Guevara
said. "Some kids are gamers, and
they don't practice. But Stacey puts
out all the time in practice. The effort
that you see in a game is the same
effort that we see in practice every
Thomas - as strong as she has
proven to be in practice and in games
- is not perfect.
"She needs to work on her jumper
off the pass, and she needs to work
on her range and being consistent,"
Thomas first began playing bas-
ketball when she was in the seventh
grade. Before she attended
Southwestern Academy in Flint,
where her father was both the foot-
ball and track coach, she would shoot
around with the girls team, waiting
for her father to finish practice. She
wasn't old enough to play competi-
tively at that school yet.
Then, as a freshman in high
school, Thomas made the varsity
"My father encouraged me to go
out there, have fun and do my best,"
Thomas said. "I started to think that
this could turn into something,"
Guevara began recruiting Thomas
while she was an assistant at
"Stacey has a tremendous amount
of athletic ability," Guevara said.
"She's quick, she can run, she's got
great hands, she's got a great jump
shot and she's a good kid. She's a
Thomas's personal favorite part of
her game is her defensive play, which
is evident in her team-leading 68
steals and 14 blocks.
"When my defense is going well, it
turns into my offense," Thomas said.
"They feed off of each other. I love to
get in somebody's shorts, make them
turn the ball over and make it hard
for them to score."
Aside from any physical aspects of
her game, Guevara said that there are
certain emotional aspects that
Thomas can still improve on.
"Stacey's not a big 'talker,"
Guevara said. "If that's one thing that
she needs to work on, it's being more
verbal, being more of a communica-
tor on the floor.
"She'll talk to people, but she's not
a rah-rah kind of person. She's not a
trash-talker. If anything, her actions
As far as Thomas is concerned, the
best part about basketball is the com-
"I love to compete in anything that
I do." Thomas said. "That's what dri-
ves me. I wish the games would
never end. I love playing and putting
on a show for people to watch."
1997 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Stacey Thomas hasn't slowed up much as a
sophomore. Thomas leads the conference in steals.
Three swimmers aim for looming Big
Tens with three-day Michigan Open
Daily Sports Writer
It's housekeeping time.
The Michigan men's swimming and
diving team will tidy up this weekend, as
three swimmers will compete in the
While the rest of the
team practices and trains----------
as usual for off-week- Tomorrow's
ends, Jay Zawacki, Chris
Laskowski and Mike Who: Michigani
O'Connor will each local swhim1pers
make cameo appear- Michi Open
ances at Canham Where: Canhar
Natatorium in a meet
where entrants can be as When: all week
young as I1 years old.
So why are three big Notable: Three
college students swim- will face compe
ming with a bunch of half their age.
junior high schoolers?
The three swimmers still lack official
times in some races. The Open gives
them a chance to register those scores.
Laskowski wants to have an entry
time in the 200 IM so he can swim it at
the Big Ten Champioships.
The 200 IM is held Feb. 26, the first
day of competition. Laskowski wants to
get a race - any race, not his best, he
said - under his belt.
"We just need them to get an official
finish, swim a legal race," Michigan
assistant coach Eric Namesnik said.
Four 'M' women's swimmers will gear
up for Michigan Open this weekend
The swimmers have no
feelings either way on the
race, the former Olympian
"I just have to go swim it,"
Laskowski will be swim-
ming the 200 Individual
Medley on Sunday.
But isn't this an inconve-
nience, though, swimming
on your day off?
"I don't know," Laskowski
said. "I might get up a little
The Wolverines host the Michigan Open this weekend. But Junior Tom Malchow
won't be competing. He has already qualified for the Big Ten Championship.
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