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Former IU basketball player Daryl Thomas dies at age 52

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Daryl Thomas, who helped lead the Indiana University men’s basketball team to the1987 NCAA Championship, has passed away at the age of 52. Thomas, a native of Westchester, Illinois, played for the Hoosiers from 1983 to 1987 and was a team captain in 1986 and 1987 for Coach Bob Knight.  Photo courtesy of IU Athletics Buy Photos

Daryl Thomas, who played four seasons with IU men's basketball in the 1980s and helped lead the Hoosiers to the 1987 National Championship, died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 52.

Thomas had been the head basketball coach at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Illinois, since 2015. The school announced Thomas' death on Twitter on Wednesday and added that no further details were available surrounding his death.

As a member of IU's most recent title-winning team, Thomas averaged 15.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a senior in the 1986-87 season. During his four years as a Hoosier, he averaged 10.3 points per game and scored more than 1,000 career points.

Thomas was also a key part of one of the most famous plays in IU history, which helped the Hoosiers win their fifth championship. His pass set up "The Shot," which Keith Smart made to give IU a late lead over Syracuse in the closing seconds of the title game.

IU Coach Archie Miller tweeted out a statement expressing his sympathies for the family of Thomas, who was a two-time captain during his time at IU. 

"Saddened to hear of the passing of Hoosier legend and National Champion Daryl Thomas," Miller tweeted. "Beloved by his teammates and coaches, our prayers go out to his wife Marta, his children, and the Montini Catholic HS community which he served."

Jake Thomer

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