Of the returning players on this team, Thomas has to be the one with the most upside. His freshman year he was clearly talented, and quickly became known as a ball-hog for his affinity to never pass the rock to his teammates once he got his hands on it. In fact, it was often joked that there was never a shot that Thomas didn’t like. He changed that perception somewhat last season as he took more of a team approach as a starter.
Mr. Thomas has one of the more impressive honors sheets on this entire Buckeyes team. If not for Jared Sullinger, he would have been, without question, the star of the 2010 class. Now that Sullinger has departed, it’s time for Thomas to step out of his shadow and be the player for the Buckeyes this year.
Hometown: Ft. Wayne, Indiana
High School: Bishop Luers
Position: Forward (4)
High School Awards:
- State Scoring Title: 817 points, 30.3 points per game (2009)
- State Scoring Title: 764 points, 31.8 points per game (2010)
- McDonald’s All-American (2010)
- Indiana Mr. Basketball (2010)
- Parade All-American (2009)
- Parade All-American (2010)
- All State (2007-2010: 4 years)
- All SAC (2007-2010: 4 years)
Deshaun Thomas was the top rated Small Forward coming out of High School as rated by several different recruiting services. He was one of the most impressive players in the state of Indiana, and was the first Indiana Mr. Basketball to join the Buckeyes since Greg Oden in 2006. He is number three on the all-time scoring lists in the state of Indiana, and his Bishop Luer teams won the Class 2A state title in both 2008 and 2009. His 34 points and 15 rebounds in the 2009 state title are 2nd most in Indiana Class 2A history.
From Buckeyes Beats blog as usual.
Thomas is a particularly strong and athletic player capable of playing both the 3 and the 4 spots. He can score from the block and is tough to defend on the inside, using either his quickness or strength to beat opponents to the hoop. He’s also a capable, if inconsistent, 3 point shooter making him versatile enough to be a challenge for most defenses to defend. It is simply sufficient to say that Deshaun Thomas is a scorer. When he’s on the court, he is going to find a way to put the ball in the bucket. Ultimately, he’s a catch and shoot style player that will benefit from having a number of great point guards and distributors on the team.
He is also an acceptable defender, with his greatest strength lying in defending the paint where he can use his strength to fight off bigger players. The fact that he was a starter last season, and played as many minutes as he did, is a testament to that fact. He is also a solid rebounder and can help control the boards with ease while in the game. Combined with any of the other big men, Thomas will be able to make a significant mark inside this year.
Things to Work on:
Despite being a tremendous scorer and decent three point shooter, there are a large number of aspects of his game that Thomas must work on. First and foremost, he needs to continue to improve his shot selection. While he made big strides in this area during his sophomore campaign, he will need to prove that he can make even better decisions now that he is the go-to guy on this team. He simply cannot be jacking shots willy-nilly, and must prove that he can pass on an ok look for a better look (from either another teammate or himself) later.
Thomas also must work on his defensive skills, specifically on the perimeter. Despite being a fast, athletic guy, Thomas is simply poor at his on-ball defense outside of the paint. His footwork needs serious work to prevent himself from getting turned around and getting his feet tangled up. It will also help him keep pace with some of the swifter opponents, and prevent them from making him look like a screen door. With practice, he has the skills to get the job done, but making it natural will take time.
Lastly, Thomas needs to work both on drawing more fouls, and making more foul shots. One of the biggest losses the Buckeyes face without Sullinger is the ability to draw fouls in the paint. All of the bigs need to step up in this way, but Thomas has the experience to really make it happen. When he does, he also has to manage to sink the shots too.
Role for this Team:
Deshaun Thomas is a scorer in every way possible. His mentality is that of the kind of player that just can’t help but make plays on the offensive end. This becomes all the more important now that the Buckeyes have lost their scoring machine in the paint.
With Sam Thompson and LaQuinton Ross both looking like they may get playing time, there’s only one position we’ll see DeShaun Thomas play. While he could be effective at both the 3 and the 4, his experience at the 4 from last season, plus the lack of available playing time at the 3, means that he will be first and foremost a 4 for this team. Given his dynamic scoring abilities, and his ever improving defense, he could be a very tough matchup for any opponent. Bigger 4′s will struggle to keep up with him, while smaller 4′s will struggle with his physicality inside.
2012 Basketball Previews:
Sept 27th – Aaron Craft
Oct 3rd – Amedeo Della Valle
Oct 5th – Trey McDonald
Oct 7th – Evan Ravenel
Oct 9th – Alex Rogers
Oct 11th – LaQuinton Ross
Oct 16th – Shannon Scott
Oct 18th – Lenzelle Smith Jr.
Oct 23rd – DeShaun Thomas
Oct 25th – Sam Thompson
Oct 30th – Amir Williams
Nov 1st – Coaches