The Maturation of DeShaun Thomas

Written January 31st, 2013 by Tim Shoemaker

DeShaun Thomas rarely, if ever, sees a shot he doesn’t like.

In previous years, this used to be a weakness for the Ohio State men’s basketball team. This year, however, it has become the Buckeyes’ greatest strength.

And he can pass!

Now in his junior season, this is the first time in Thomas’ career it is “his team.”

In Ohio State’s 58-49 win against Wisconsin on Tuesday, Thomas led the Buckeyes with 25 points.

It wasn’t all about his scoring in this game, though. He also tied his career-high with 4 assists. He played an extremely efficient, all-around game. One I would say was close to his best overall game in an Ohio State uniform.

Last week, in a press conference, Thomas described himself as a “matchup nightmare” for opponents.

While we often laugh off comments like these from Thomas, this one got me thinking a bit because, well, he’s kind of right.

At 6’7″ he plays the stretch-4 position for the Buckeyes. If opponents try guarding him with someone his size or bigger, Thomas can pull them out away from the basket. Guard him with someone smaller and he punishes you inside.

This year Thomas is averaging career-highs in the following categories: Minutes per game (33.9), points per game (20.3), rebounds per game (6.3), assists per game (1.6), three-point percentage (41.3%) and free throw percentage (80.8%).

All of these numbers lead to signs that Thomas is growing and becoming a more complete basketball player.

In the win over the Badgers, point guard Aaron Craft was the only player besides Thomas to score in double figures.

It’s a battle that the Buckeyes will be fighting all season. If Thomas is on, coupled with OSU’s great perimeter defense, the Buckeyes can score enough to win in the NCAA Tournament.

The good thing for OSU is that Thomas doesn’t have too many off nights.

There’s no denying that the success of this OSU team will depend on the play of Thomas.

That’s a lot of pressure for one kid.

But something tells me that kind of pressure won’t bother Thomas.

3 Comments

  1. KenNo Gravatar
    January 31st, 2013 at 8:28 am

    I think that ‘maturation’ is a good way of putting it, Tim. He seems a bit more judicious in his shot selection, looks to pass more often and isn’t afraid to set screens to free a teammate up. I think he’s improved enough defensively that it’s not an ‘oh god, DT is trying to guard him’ point each game.

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    January 31st, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Actually, I think he improved beyond that point even last year. This year, I very rarely notice poor defensive plays from him. Always fun to see Matta’s philosophies sink into the players.

    I think the two biggest things he’s learned lately: 1) Don’t be in a rush, and 2) Trust your teammates to help out. Watching him on a fast break, recognizing that the defense is in far better position and that he needs to back out and reset the offense is awesome. Much much better play from him overall.

    [Reply]

    Joe DexterNo Gravatar
    January 31st, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve always thought that Thomas’ game transferred well to the NBA game. Through the last two seasons, I’ve really enjoyed watching him grow as a defender and overall leader on the floor. His spacing has improved drastically since making his way to Ohio State.

    Overall a weapon has turned lethal. Have fun trying to stop it.

    [Reply]

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