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Malcolm Thomas earns pro honors

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Malcolm Thomas #4 of the San Diego State Aztecs shoots against the Northern Colorado Bears during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.

    For Malcolm Thomas, the last 14 months have been crazy.

    In March of 2011, he helped the San Diego State men's basketball team to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, the furthest the program has ever gone.

    Then he went to a bunch of pre-draft camps, even as the NBA was going through a lockout.

    Then he went undrafted, and while the lockout was on played in a Korean professional league, but was released in November.

    Then in December he signed on with the Los Angeles Lakers when NBA training camps actually got underway.

    Then the Lakers assigned him to the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League, the sort of minor leagues of North American pro basketball.

    Then the Spurs signed him to an NBA contract, where Malcolm teamed up again with Kawhi Leonard. Thomas played in 3 games, scoring 1 point and grabbing 3 rebounds before the Spurs assigned him to the D-League's Austin Toros.

    Then he was waived by the Toros, and landed back with the D-Fenders.

    Then he was signed by the Houston Rockets, never appeared in a game, and was back in the D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

    He played 2 games for Rio Grande, and ended up for a third time with the D-Fenders.

    He helped the D-Fenders reach the D-League Finals (against the Toros, interestingly), averaging a double-double and dominating the series, even though L.A. lost.

    Through all that, Thomas showed enough game to make the folks that run the D-League feel he should be playing in the NBA.

    On Thursday Thomas was named to the All-League First Team, the All-League Rookie First Team, and the All-League Defensive First Team, the only player to land on all three lists.

    After all that, maybe the Lakers could have used Malcolm in the NBA Playoffs. He certainly would have given them more effort than Andrew Bynum did.
     

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