Posted: 11:00 a.m. Friday, April 12, 2013
By Brett Ludwiczak
Not only did Deshaun Thomas give fans three solid years in Columbus, but from what I can remember he had the most nicknames of any Ohio State player. Whether you called him "DT", "Tank", or "The Microwave", Thomas didn't care what you called him, just as long as you didn't get in the way of him shooting the basketball.
19.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.3 APG. shot 45 percent from the field, 34 percent from beyond the arc. Played 35.4 minutes per game.
Early in the season Thomas found the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut to be quite comfortable. The Buckeyes played in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Mid-November, and Deshaun had two big performances to try and set a tone for the season. Thomas registered 25 points and 10 rebounds in the 69-58 win against Rhode Island, the 4th double-double of his career (Thomas would add a 5th in December against UNC-Asheville).
After the Buckeyes defeated Rhode Island, Thomas was dialed in the next afternoon in the 77-66 win against Washington. Ohio State claimed the Tip-Off title behind 12-20 shooting from the field for Thomas, who tied his career-high with 31 points.
Even though the Buckeyes lost to Michigan State in East Lansing, Thomas did everything he could to try and lead his team to a victory. The game was essentially Deshaun Thomas against the world, as he scored 28 points, including a career-high 6 three pointers. No other Buckeye scored more than 6 points that evening.
It is hard to say that a player that scored double figures and led the Big Ten in scoring had any truly horrible games, but the one that would stand out the most is his performance in the loss to Kansas. Thomas started off the game strong, but much like the rest of his teammates, nothing was falling in the second half. Even with only shooting 4-11 from the field, Thomas was still Ohio State's leading scorer on the afternoon, registering 16 points.
Luckily for Ohio State, in the games where Thomas shot poorly they were able to find a way to secure the victory. In games where Thomas shot less than 35% from the field the Buckeyes went 6-0. The lowest scoring output on the season for Thomas was when he scored 11 points in the victory against Penn State. The Buckeyes won that game by 14 points, so the lack of production in that game wasn't too big of an issue.
Even with forgoing his final season in Columbus, Thomas still finished his Buckeye career with over 1600 points, which is good enough for 9th on the all-time scoring list. From the beginning of his career as a Buckeye, Thomas wasn't afraid to hoist a shot from anywhere at anytime. Thomas took 16 shots in his first game at Ohio State back in November of 2010 against North Carolina A&T;, scoring 24 points in 20 minutes.
The first two years that Deshaun was in Columbus were a little easy from an offensive standpoint since the Buckeyes had Jared Sullinger's presence to take some of the pressure away from Deshaun. This year Deshaun had to take on more of a leadership role that came with being the focal point of the Buckeye offense. Teams knew that they had to stop Thomas and he still found a way to score nearly 20 points a game.
Along with capturing the Big Ten scoring crown and a spot on the All-Big Ten team, Thomas was also named a third team AP All American this season. The honors to Thomas this season were well deserved, as trying to think about where the Buckeyes would have been this season without him could make for some potent nightmare fuel.
Not only did Thomas excel on the court for the Buckeyes, but after he had played his last game for the school, he wrote a letter to the editor of The Lantern, highlighting the accomplishments of some of his fellow student-athletes. You could tell that Thomas really cherished his time in Columbus, and while we all wish he had one more year left playing for the Buckeyes, we wish him nothing but the best in the future.
Most of the mock drafts have projected Thomas to be projected to go somewhere in the 2nd round, but with the draft not until the end of June Thomas has a couple months to try and improve his stock and slide up into the first round. While there is no question that Thomas can score, his athleticism could be an issue for NBA GMs when deciding whether or not to take him.
When trying to project where Thomas is going to be play in the NBA, he has the dreaded "tweener" label when he is evaluated. Deshaun is too slow to play the 3, but is too small to play the 4 in the NBA. The lack of athleticism that Thomas possesses means that he shouldn't be expected to contribute much in terms of rebounding and defense for a NBA team.
What looks like the best-case scenario for Thomas is to climb into the bottom of the 1st round in June's draft, to earn the guaranteed contract that comes with being a 1st round pick. Thomas would give a team a volume shooter off the bench. Another route that Deshaun does have if he does get picked in the 2nd round and does not receive a guaranteed contract, is to see what options might be available to him over in Europe.