Senior Send-Off: San Diego’s Thomas Jacobs


Thomas Jacobs did not arrive at San Diego as a star in the making. While he was a solid player at Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego County averaging 11 points and 8.7 rebounds his senior season, he did not do much in his one season at Cal State Northridge. But after making the transition to the Toreros, Jacobs transformed into a tenacious forward who helped carry the frontcourt for two seasons.

Jacobs appeared in just six games for the Matadors, although he was effective averaging 4.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Bill Grier and the Toreros staff saw something in him, and he returned to San Diego County to play for San Diego. After sitting out for a season due to NCAA transfer rules, Jacobs made his USD debut in the 2013-14 season. While he never made it into the regular starting rotation, it became clear as the season went on that he could emerge as a force in the weak frontcourt. Jacobs appeared in all 35 games that season, and he had some notable performances including a double-double against San Diego Christian and 8 rebounds against crosstown rival San Diego State.

With the departure of anchor Dennis Kramer after that season, things lined up for Jacobs to take a bigger role in his senior season. Outside of defensive stalwart Jito Kok, there was not much experience returning in the frontcourt for the 2014-15 season. Brett Bailey and Simi Fajemisin were the only other returning frontcourt veterans, and neither had impressed enough to secure full-time roles. Bailey was a highly touted recruit and took the starting role out of the game, but Jacobs soon played himself into contention.

Like he had done his entire career, Jacobs started to consistently put up solid if not spectacular scoring and rebounding totals. Eventually his consistency combined with the struggles of Bailey and the other forwards allowed Jacobs to assume a starting role. Jacobs made the most of it finishing the season as the team’s leading rebounder with 5.2 per game. He also chipped in 6.7 points per game. His tenacity was a major reason the Toreros hung around in a lot of games as Jacobs wasn’t afraid to go up and pull down rebounds against bigger opponents. It was on full display in some big games like when he had 19 points and 13 rebounds in a win over BYU, the biggest win of the season for the Toreros.

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San Diego had a less than stellar season in terms of their record, but Jacobs was a bright spot. In the final season for stars Johnny Dee and Chris Anderson, Jacobs played a major role by giving the Toreros a presence in the frontcourt. When Kramer graduated, there were major concerns that they would not have enough strength in the paint to support their star guards. And while Jacobs could not match the elite numbers of Kramer, he did a fantastic job of fighting hard every game and giving the team enough help to be competitive. Without him, things would have been very different as the team struggled to find rebounds and points in the paint.

Jacobs never became a star, but he didn’t need to be one. He was the ultimate role player who worked hard and did what the team needed him to get done. In an era that will be defined by Dee and Anderson, Jacobs should be celebrated as a guy who helped tie the team together and made the great careers of those two possible.