The Ohio State Buckeyes will have a huge hole to fill this season, thanks to Jared Sullinger going to the NBA.
Sullinger put up 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season—pretty impressive numbers considering that he was a sophomore. His departure leaves a void the Buckeyes lineup and presents a gnawing question for Ohio State fans:
Who is going step up and replace him?
Luckily for the Buckeyes, they already have the player on their team who will pick up the slack quite nicely: Deshaun Thomas.
Though Thomas does not play center, he still has strengths to his game that will allow him to step in this season and fill the hole left by Sullinger's absence.
Deshaun Thomas put up 15.9 points per game in the regular season last year. However, he completely stepped up his game in the NCAA tournament, averaging 19.2.
Thomas is nearly impossible to stop once he puts the ball on the floor. He also has pretty good range on his jumper and will make defenders pay if they play off him.
At 6'7'', Thomas is capable of posting up defenders. He really has a complete game on offense, and he will be one of the most lethal scorers in college basketball this season.
Deshaun Thomas really needs to step up his rebounding from his average of 5.4 rebounds per game last season.
But as his performance in the last season's tournament suggests, this goal should attainable. In the Big Dance, Thomas averaged 7.6 rebounds per contest.
So, though he isn't as good a rebounder as Sullinger, Thomas still has the ability to be a beast on the boards.
Ohio State will no longer have Sullinger or William Buford, which automatically makes Thomas the go-to guy for the Buckeyes.
Thomas is by the far the best scorer that the Buckeyes have, and he will be a major part of their offense this upcoming season. Ohio State is a defensive team and will not have a very lethal offense, which means Thomas has to be that much better on the offensive end of the floor.
Outside of Thomas, there is no other current Buckeye who averaged 10 or more points per game last season.
So, Thomas needs to really step up his game to replace Sullinger, but he definitely has the offensive ability to do so.
If you’re a tweeter, feel free to follow me @TheTrevorLowry.