Former Iowa State guard Matt Thomas will be playing in the NBA next season, but he won’t be returning stateside after signing a deal with the Toronto Raptors, as first reported by Eurohoops’ Varlos Nikos.
Breaking: Sources tell Eurohoops that Valencia guard Matt Thomas has agreed to a 3 year contract with the NBA defending champions Toronto Raptors. He will exercise his NBA opt-out clause with Valencia to join the Raptors— Varlas Nikos (@nikosvarlas) July 1, 2019
Nikos reported that Thomas is signing a three-year deal with the reigning-champion Raptors after opting out of his contract with Valencia Basket in Spain and the EuroLeague and Spain’s ACB League.
With Thomas coming across the pond to play for the Raptors, Iowa State now has 10 players involved with NBA teams.
In his lone season for Valencia Basket last season, Thomas averaged 11.4 points, 2.6 assists and 1.6 rebounds. The season before, Thomas played for Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro and averaged 15.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in ACB League action.
In both of his pro seasons combined, Thomas shot 48.5% from three-point land.
Thomas went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft after finishing his senior year at Iowa State by averaging 12.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting 44.5% from three and being a two-time Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection.
After going undrafted, Thomas played for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Summer League team and averaged 9.6 points in eight games. After the conclusion of the Summer League, Thomas signed with Obradoiro.
With Thomas joining the Raptors, Iowa State now has 10 former players who are under contract, were drafted or are playing in the Summer League as undrafted free agents for NBA teams. Deonte Burton and Abdel Nader are with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Georges Niang is playing for the Utah Jazz and Monte Morris is the backup point guard for the Denver Nuggets.
In the 2019 NBA Draft, Talen Horton-Tucker was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and Marial Shayok was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers while Lindell Wigginton and Nick Weiler-Babb went undrafted, but will be playing in the NBA Summer League. Weiler-Babb is playing for the Miami Heat and Wigginton will be playing for the Raptors.
Last season, Texas and Kansas were the only Big 12 teams with more players on the NBA’s opening day rosters. Kansas had 12, which tied for fourth of any college in the nation. Texas had 10 and ranked seventh in the nation. Iowa State had five players on opening rosters last season, failing to crack the top ten.
In-state rival Iowa did not have any players on NBA opening day rosters.
In the last several seasons, Iowa State has been able to accrue solid talent and develop those players so they can compete at the professional level.