Teammates think Thomas can perform better

Sheray Thomas had one of his best games as a Wildcat against the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. The performance may have surprised some, but Sheray's teammates report that he plays much better in practice than he has shown in games, including the Louisville victory. Thomas looks to build on his performance.

No way Tubby Smith could ever complain if junior forward Sheray Thomas could score 11 points, grab six rebounds and play 29 minutes as he did in Saturday's win over Louisville.

But guess what? At least one teammate doesn't think that's the best Thomas can do. "I think he can play like that all the time. Actually, I think he can play a whole lot better, too. He does it all the time in practice."

What? Thomas plays better in practice than he did Saturday? Then why hasn't he showed that potential in a game -- or games -- sooner? "I am not focused on what has happened in the past," Bradley said. "I just hope he can build on this and keep going. He has the talent to do this all the time."

Surprisingly, Thomas was not overjoyed with his play, either. He was happy, but he wasn't ready to concede that the play UK got from him and Lukasz Obrzut (four points, nine rebounds) was the best they had to offer.

"Our stats were not that great. We have had better games than this. But this is a start. We can build on this," Thomas said.

Thomas says friends and family members were questioning why he hadn't played better just like other UK fans were. Those same friends were telling him they knew he could play a lot better than he had.

"It was like, 'Show us what you can do. We know you can do a lot more.' I am a strong post player. I have to play like that," Thomas said. "Hopefully this will be the start of good things for me. But you can't get too high or too low after one game. I know I should have games like this all the time."

Apparently Smith must agree. He juggled his lineup for the Louisville game by putting Thomas back into a starting role. When Thomas rewarded him with his career-best game, Smith was happy, but not surprised.

"Coach Smith was pretty happy. But he says that just proved what he had been telling me in practice would work. That if I rebound and play hard, good things will happen," Thomas said. "That's why he was happy, but not surprised."

So while most of us were surprised at how well he played, Thomas' teammates and coach weren't -- and that could turn into a really pleasant surprise for the rest of the season if Thomas can start justifying their confidence on a regular basis.

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