Deshaun Thomas Declares for 2013 NBA Draft
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After three years and 1,630 points, Deshaun Thomas is headed for the NBA.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Ohio State’s star junior announced Friday he will forgo his senior season in Columbus, and a chance to become the school’s all-time leading scorer, for the opportunity to declare himself eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft.
“My three years at Ohio State have been the best years of my life,” Thomas said Friday.
“I have grown tremendously as an individual and as a basketball player. I intend to return to finish my degree, but I believe that now is the best opportunity to pursue my dream and begin my career as a professional basketball player.”
Thomas led the Big Ten in scoring this past season at 19.5 points per game. He was the leading-scoring in the NCAA Tournament last year as a sophomore, at over 19 points per game, but decided to return for his junior season so he could improve his overall game as the focal point of Ohio State’s offense.
The Buckeyes went 29-8 this past season. They finished second in the Big Ten during the regular season before capturing the conference’s tournament championship in Chicago. They also advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, with Thomas averaging more than 22 points a game during their run, which ended in Los Angeles with a loss to Wichita State.
Over the last three years, Thomas helped lead the Buckeyes to 94 victories, three NCAA tournament appearances, three NCAA “Sweet 16s,” a pair of Elite Eights and to the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“To see Deshaun grow into the man he has become has been amazing,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said of his star lefty.
“His accomplishments on the floor speak for themselves but I am just as proud of him and what he has done off the floor. We recruited him offering the opportunity to grow as a person and player and that is exactly what happened. I know there is much more in-store for him in the future and I am proud to have been able to coach him.”
Thomas was a superstar prospect out of Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. He averaged nearly 30 points and 14 rebounds in high school, becoming the third all-time leading scorer in state history.
The 6-7 forward will finish his career with the Buckeyes No. 9 in all-time scoring with 1,630 points. He was well within striking distance of becoming the top scorer in Ohio State history next season, but Thomas felt this was the right opportunity for him to make his move from playing college basketball to playing professionally.
“That’s what good players whose dream it is to make it to the next level (have to do),” he told The-Ozone in Los Angeles.
“You have to make that tough decision in college.”
Thomas led the Big Ten Conference in scoring as a junior with 19.8 points per game and was named first-team all-conference. His total of 733 points last season is third most in Ohio State history. He is one of 25 players in Ohio State history to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
He is not listed among the 30 players on Chad Ford’s ESPN.com draft big board, but Thomas is projected to be the first pick in the second round by NBADraft.net. NBA Draft Express has Thomas as a mid-to-late second round pick, but CBS Sports analyst Jeff Goodman is also projecting Ohio State’s star junior as an early second or late first round pick.
According to Ohio State, Thomas plans to finish the 2013 Ohio State Spring Semester while splitting time between Columbus and Indianapolis preparing for the NBA Draft.
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