St. John’s Transfer Keith Thomas Caught In Academic Scandal

Before the collegiate season had even started, St. John’s Red Storm and head coach Steve Lavin suffered a major loss. Key transfer Keith Thomas from Westchester Community College  has been caught up in an academic scandal.

The 6’7″ forward was stellar through his junior college career averaging 15.3 points and a NJCAA high 15.7 rebounds per game leading his team to the JUCO National Tournament for the first time since 1996.

Thomas was expected to be a major contributor right away to a team on the rise with Lavin at the helm. Even with Thomas, the Johnies were expected to be very thin along the front line and without Thomas the squad will rely heavily on Chris Obekpa.

Athletic director Chris Monasch released a statement earlier Wednesday discussing the situation.

“Academic integrity is treated very seriously at St. John’s University and we are committed to maintaining high academic standards for all of our student-athletes,” Monasch said. “Our athletic compliance office recently became aware of information that triggered an additional review of Thomas’ academic credentials at Westchester Community College. Our assessment and decision are in accordance with University and NCAA policies.”

It remains to be seen what will come of Thomas’ career due to the controversy, but it is highly unlikely he will ever play in a St. John’s uniform. The news was originally broken by the Journal News that the NJCAA has opened an investigation into the Westchester program; speculation maintains that former head coach Richard Fields allegedly forged the signature of two former players that eventually transferred to Florida A&M.

*Section Photo credit to Doug Pensinger, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Paul J. Bereswill, New York Post

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