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Creighton guard Khyri Thomas to remain in 2018 NBA Draft

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Khyri Thomas #2 of the Creighton Bluejays talks the referee in the second half against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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With leading scorer Marcus Foster out of eligibility, the biggest question for the Creighton Bluejays at the end of the 2017-18 season was what would junior guard Khyri Thomas do. Not only did Thomas establish himself as one of the top perimeter defenders in the country during his three seasons at Creighton, but he also made significant strides offensively.

Sunday afternoon Thomas, who originally entered his name into the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, announced that he has decided to forego his final season of collegiate eligibility.

Thomas, who averaged 15.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season, has a good chance of being Creighton’s second first-round draft pick in as many years (Justin Patton in 2017). Making improvements offensively in each of his three seasons under Greg McDermott and his staff, Thomas shot 53.8 percent from the field, 41.1 percent from three and 78.8 percent from the foul line in 2017-18.

Being able to point to the development of Thomas and Patton, who redshirted before playing his way into the 2017 NBA Draft lottery, certainly won’t hurt Creighton’s efforts on the recruiting trail moving forward.

As for next year’s team, losing Thomas is a big deal given his impact on both ends of the court. Returnees such as Mitchell Ballock, Davion Mintz and Ty-Shon Alexander will have even more responsibility on their shoulders, and it should also be noted that the team’s leading returning scorer (forward Martin Krampelj) is working his way back from a torn ACL suffered in mid-January.

Losing three starters (Foster, Thomas and Toby Hegner) and a solid reserve in Ronnie Harrell Jr. (transferred to Denver) will be tough to absorb. But it gives the remaining Bluejays the opportunity to step forward, and if the last two seasons are any indication someone may be ready to make a major jump for Greg McDermott’s team.