44. John Thomas (1972-76) 6-8, F. Thomas was a major reason why the ’76 Huskies advanced to the Sweet 16 and could be considered one of the school’s best teams up until that point.
He ranks fourth all-time in rebounding at UConn, having pulled down a healthy 11.2 boards per game. He was also a tough defensive presence on the interior, and a scoring threat at center.
The Louisiana native came to UConn in part because, as he told UConnhooplegends.com, there was no segregation in Connecticut.
“At the time, Assistant Coach Valvano brought me to a restaurant to eat,” he said. “I looked at him like he was crazy. I told him I couldn’t go in there. I said, coach blacks are not allowed in there.” Coach Valvano said, “Are you kidding me?” and I said “NO!” Coach Valvano said “In Connecticut it’s not that way. You can go where you want to go, sit where you want to sit and no one’s going to bother you.”
“We went into the restaurant and he was right. No one bothered me, no problems. I could go anywhere and no problems so that was what sold me on going to UConn.”