Back in Boulder for a month of workouts and summer school, Dustin Thomas is already excited to see how good he can be as a sophomore for the Colorado men's basketball team.

"I'm definitely ready, because I know I can change a lot that I didn't do my freshman year, and I know I can make a difference," the 6-foot-7 forward said.

Last season, Thomas had a year typical for most freshmen. It featured some great moments, and some not-so-great moments. There were times when Thomas looked like a veteran who could dominate at this level. There other times when he couldn't stay on the court because of foul trouble or fatigue.

While the results were not always consistent, though, Thomas desire and effort never changed.

"Dustin, effort-wise every day was probably as consistent as anybody we had," assistant coach Mike Rohn said. "He comes to work every day, plays hard in practice, plays physical.

"He has a lot of confidence in himself and he's got a very competitive streak. You're never going to take that away from him."

A product of Texarkana, Texas, Thomas is as confident as ever as he goes through summer workouts.

"I think I had a good year (as a freshman)," he said. "I think I learned a lot. Going into the next year, I'll know what to expect, so nothing is really going to be a shock to me. I learned a lot from the older guys my freshman year and I think we went through a lot of things that brought us closer as a team."


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Thomas played in all 35 games for the Buffs (23-12), with his 15.1 minutes per game ranking second among the Buffs' four true freshmen. He averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 rebounds. Throughout the season, his struggled with his shot, however, connecting on just 18.2 percent of 3-pointers (6-for-33). He made 51.3 percent of his shots inside the arc.

"There was a lot of times where I was rushing myself and I could feel it as soon as I let it go — I could tell it would be off," said Thomas, who made 48 percent of his 3s as a high school senior.

Thomas said he realized that there's not as much time to get a shot off in college as he had in high school, and that affected him a bit.

"Yeah, I think there was a lot of adjusting to the fast pace," he said. "It got to me at times, but I can feel it coming back. I know it's going to come back, and I just felt like it was a process that most hoopers go through. I'm through it now and I'm ready to work."

One of the most versatile players on the roster, Thomas played everything from a two-guard to a center at times for CU last year. The Buffs love his versatility and believe he can be a great asset for them going forward.

"I think Dustin's got a really bright future," Rohn said.

Rohn compared Thomas to teammate Xavier Johnson, because of his ability to score inside and from the perimeter, while adding that Thomas needs get better on defense and make rebounding "something that's important to him."

What is most important to Thomas is winning games, and he said he's spending his summer trying to improve himself as an individual so that he can better prepared to help the Buffs do that.

"I feel a lot more confident than I was my freshman year already," he said. "I just feel like the game is coming to me.

"Whatever (position) coach wants to put me at, I'm down to get out there and make a difference for the team. I just want to win games and make a difference for my team."

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.