FAYETTEVILLE -- Forward Dustin Thomas was among the Arkansas Razorbacks' six seniors who met with the media a week ago before playing his final game in Walton Arena against Auburn.
"It's definitely been up and down, but I feel like everything is coming together at the right time," Thomas said of his Razorbacks career. "I can't complain.
"I'm just ready to finish out the season strong with this group."
That's not going to happen.
Thomas' career with the Razorbacks is finished before postseason play starts.
Thomas, who started 44 games the past two seasons, was dismissed for an undisclosed violation of team rules, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Coach Mike Anderson announced Monday.
"It is a privilege to represent the University of Arkansas as a student-athlete," Anderson said in a statement. "We will continue to hold the student-athletes in our program to a high standard on and off the court."
Thomas, who redshirted at Arkansas during the 2015-2016 season after transferring from Colorado, started this season on suspension for undisclosed reasons. He missed the Razorbacks' two exhibition games and the first three regular-season games, then had an impact with 5 points, 9 rebounds and 1 steal in Arkansas' 92-83 victory over Oklahoma in Portland, Ore.
In 26 games this season, including 17 starts, the 6-8 Thomas averaged 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 19.2 minutes.
In addition to the games Thomas missed because of his suspension, he didn't play against Ole Miss or South Carolina at home despite dressing out. Anderson said after both games that Thomas was healthy and it was a coaching decision not to play him.
Thomas had solid games after each benching with 8 points, 2 steals and 1 rebound in the Razorbacks' 80-77 double-overtime victory at Georgia, and 3 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in their 72-54 victory over Vanderbilt.
Thomas' most significant game for the Razorbacks came in the NCAA Tournament last season when he had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot to help Arkansas beat Seton Hall 77-71.
This season, Thomas had good performances in the Razorbacks' 66-65 victory over Oklahoma State with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals, and in their 87-72 loss to Kentucky with 6 points, 10 rebounds and 1 steal.
"I've just been playing pretty good," Thomas said a week ago. "I don't really just focus myself on doing one thing. I try to do a little bit of everything that helps us win."
Thomas, who is from Texarkana, Texas, also was suspended from the team for several weeks during his redshirt season after being arrested along with teammates Anton Beard and Jacorey Williams on forgery charges.
Thomas was reinstated to the team after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possessing an instrument of crime -- a counterfeit $20 bill.
Washington County Circuit Judge Joanna Taylor sentenced Thomas to one year's probation and ordered him to pay a $500 fine and assorted court costs. He was also ordered to complete 40 hours of community service and remain on good behavior.
"You know how to stay out of trouble," Taylor told Thomas after sentencing. "You need to make good decisions."
Beard was reinstated to the team two years ago after agreeing to enter a drug court diversion program, and he has started every game this season. He is averaging 9.6 points, 3.0 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 29.9 minutes.
Williams was dismissed from the team by Anderson and transferred to Middle Tennessee State. After redshirting, Williams was voted the 2017 Conference USA Player of the Year after averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds to lead the Blue Raiders to the NCAA Tournament as a fifth-year senior.
Thomas started 27 of 36 games last season for Arkansas and averaged 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 18.0 minutes.
Sports on 03/06/2018
Print Headline: Thomas dismissed from UA