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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Former women's basketball player joins volleyball

Whitney Thomas

Whitney Thomas will take on a fifth year as a Hoosier athlete – this time wearing a volleyball uniform.

Although known for her elite performance on the basketball court winning awards such as the Big Ten’s Medal of Honor, during her high school years Thomas was rumored to have been better with a volleyball in her hands than a basketball.

“Many people say I was better at volleyball than basketball,” Thomas said. “That may be true, but basketball was my first love; I started playing when I was four years old.”

Thomas has used her four years of eligibility for basketball, but the NCAA allows athletes a fifth year if they play a different sport. Thomas is more than willing to take advantage of that – and so is the IU volleyball coaching staff.

“I’m sure all Hoosier fans are happy to see Whitney Thomas in any Indiana jersey for another year,” IU volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar said. “She has always been a fan favorite because of her Bloomington roots, but also because of her style of play. She always gives 100 percent and is a true Hoosier representing all that it means to be a good role model for this University.”

Despite a little nervous energy at first, Thomas is making a good transition onto the volleyball team. Having played with Ashley Benson, a middle blocker for IU, on the same high school team and having the opportunity to practice in open gyms with the team during the summer has given her a chance to mesh with the team.

Sophomore setter Mary Chaudoin said she thinks Thomas has a lot to offer.

“Whitney has a lot of Big Ten experience.” Chaudoin said. “Mentally, she has been in tough situations, and especially with our young team, I feel like that will help us.”

With seven new faces on a team of 14, Dunbar said she knows that her players need to draw from wisdom wherever they can get it.

“Whitney is an elite athlete that is well-conditioned, and her strength base is fantastic after four years of training here at Indiana,” Dunbar said. “She will help us with her depth in a couple of positions and add insight to our younger players with her experience.”

Already accustomed to the workouts and the passionate coaching styles of women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack and Dunbar, Thomas is looking forward to the volleyball season – as are her parents.

“They love sports no matter what sport it is,” Thomas said. “They love watching me play and are very excited that they will have one more year.”

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