One of the more controversial recruits of the Craig Esherick era, Harvey Thomas' stay at Georgetown proved unproductive, whereupon his transfer led him into one basketball's most tragic scandals.

Thomas was the kind of recruit Georgetown was considered to avoid. As a sophomore in Fredericksburg, VA, Thomas was named as a top-30 sophomore, leading him into an odyssey which saw him placed in four different high schools over the next three years. At Mt. Zion (NC) Academy, he played alongside future NBA star Amare Stoudamire and West Virginia guard Jonathan Hargett, averaging 19 points and 14 rebounds per game, but when their coach had a disagreement with the school, he moved the team to a new school he founded, Emmanuel Christian Academy, which folded before the 1999-2000 season.

Thomas then traveled to Rockville, MD, playing alongside Tony Bethel and Drew Hall at Montrose Christian. Ranked as the #2 power forward and the #20 recruit nationally by Rivals. com, Thomas committed to Georgetown in the summer of 2000. But following a dispute with Montrose coach Stu Vetter, Thomas relocated to Memphis' Hamilton HS, whereupon the state athletics association barred him from the varsity.

Despite being Craig Esherick's top recruit for the 2001-02 season, Thomas had issues from the start. He sat out the first two games due to eligibility issues, and never earned a starting role, averaging 5.2 points in 28 games. He scored a season high 14 versus Syracuse, but reached double figures in just three other games and did not get along with head coach Craig Esherick.

At season's end, it was announced Thomas would transfer to Daytona Junior College, and unusual step for a college freshman. "Harvey Thomas and I have decided that he would be better served spending some time at another school," Esherick said." Despite claims that Thomas had an open door to return to Georgetown, he quit Daytona after the summer and enrolled at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M CC, averaging 13.8 points per game, and never saw Georgetown again.

Thomas' basketball career took a darker turn in April 2003, when he signed a letter of intent to Baylor. "We are thrilled to have a player the caliber of Harvey Thomas as part of our program," said Baylor coach Dave Bliss. "He continues our efforts towards being more of a full-court basketball team."

Without a place to live that summer, Thomas moved in with two Baylor players, Patrick Dennehy and Carlton Dotson. Dennehy had recruited Thomas to Baylor, but the two had a falling out, with Dennehy accusing Thomas of theft and later purchasing a weapon for self-protection.

On June 25, 2003, Dennehy was reported missing, beginning one of the most painful sports scandals of that era. What followed was an attempt by Baylor coach Dave Bliss, a Bob Knight protege at Indiana and a nationally successful coach at Oklahoma and SMU, to cover up Dennehy's death to protect payments he made to Dennehy to attend Baylor.

Bliss attempted to portray Dennehy as a drug dealer to cover up the story, cruelly saying that "We can get out of this. There's nobody right now that can say that we paid Pat Dennehy, because he's dead." Bliss' guilt was exposed by an assistant coach who secretly taped the conversations.

During Dennehy's disappearance, his girlfriend had reported that Dennehy and Dotson were threatened by someone only identified as "Harvey". Though Thomas eventually passed two polygraph exams to prove his innocence, Bliss was recorded as placing blame on Thomas. "That [expletive] will lie when the truth's easier," Bliss said. "He'll do anything, and the reason is because we did it for Harvey. You know? I mean we stuck up for him. That's why we're in this jam, is we stuck up for Harvey."

On July 21, 2003, Dotson confessed to the killing. Barlot was put on six years probation, Bliss was fired, and his assistant, Abar Rouse, was blackballed by the coaching fraternity for producing the tapes which implicated Bliss. Players quickly scattered from the program, but Thomas opted to stay with the Bears. Thomas averaged 15.6 points for the Bears in 2003-04, earning third team all-Big 12 honors.

Having not played for any team for more than one year since his sophomore season in high school, Thomas opted for the NBA draft in 2004, but the stench of the Baylor scandal left Thomas undrafted. A run of overseas and minor league basketball followed before Thomas returned to Fredericksburg.

"As long as I'm playing somewhere," Thomas said, "I'm giving myself an opportunity."

Season

GP

GS

Min

FG

FGA

%

3FG

3GA

%

FT

FTA

%

Off

Reb

Avg

PF

Ast

Blk

Stl

Pts

Avg

2001-02 28 0 400 47 123 38.2 12 39 30.8 39 67 58.2 33 71 2.5 55 19 10 29 145 5.2
Totals 28 0 400 47 123 38.2 12 39 30.8 39 67 58.2 33 71 2.5 55 19 10 29 145 5.2