Ohio State Basketball Preview: Freshman Deshaun Thomas
It has been awhile, but the next installment of our series detailing Ohio State's new additions to the basketball team is finally up. Before I get into this article, I do want to mention that Ohio State already has three commits for the 2011.
Since these guys are just beginning their senior seasons in high school, I won't go into their stats. But I will say this: All three players (LaQuinton Ross, Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson) are 4-star, ESPNU 100 recruits.
Thad Matta is burning up the recruiting trails again, and legally (looking at you, Calipari). The guy is simply one of the top coaches in the country, and I don't think I would take anybody over him right now.
I know what argument some fans will make..."John Calipari has vacated more Final Fours than most coaches will ever get to." This is true, and call me old-fashioned, but I love a guy who runs a clean program and does nothing but win.
It wasn't long ago that Jim O'brien ran this program into the ground, committed some violations himself and then sued the school for firing him because he committed violations. So appreciate Coach Matta while he is here.
On to today's target, Deshaun Thomas. Thomas is the second-highest rated recruit in this class behind Jared Sullinger. He is a McDonald's All-American, a 5-star ESPNU Top 100 player, and 12th-overall ranked recruit in the country.
Hailing from Fort Wayne, IN, Thomas spurned the likes of Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State and Duke to come and play for the Buckeyes. Bottom line: While everyone in this class will be overlooked by Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas would be a starter on all but maybe 10 teams in the country. One of those 10 teams happens to be the Buckeyes, however, as they return all but one starter from last year and bring the No. 2 overall recruiting class.
That's not to say that Deshaun won't start some games for the Buckeyes, and he will definitely see significant time every game off the bench. At approximately 6'7" and 220 pounds, he plays small forward, a position that Ohio State isn't exactly deep at (David Lighty is about it).
All reports of Thomas as a high school player are that he is a pure scorer. He averaged about 32 points and 15 rebounds per game as a senior, and also shot 82 percent from the line.
He was inconsistent behind the three-point line at times (with games of 2-10, 2-11, 1-8, and several other poor long range shooting nights) but definitely has range, shooting 2-4 or 3-6 from beyond the arc many games. He even put up 31 points and nine boards when he played Jared Sullinger's Northland High School, going 5-10 from long range and 9-11 from the line.
Last high school note on Deshaun Thomas: He finished his high school career third on Indiana's All-Time High School Scoring List, ahead of guys like Steve Alford, Shawn Kemp, Eric Gordon and Jimmy Chitwood.
As I mentioned earlier, Thomas should fit nicely behind David Lighty at the three, and provide a nice change of pace from the defensive-minded Lighty. Even though Thomas is not rated a great defensive player now, guys like him who are so physically gifted they can dominate a game offensively in high school don't always work on their defensive game as much.
Not saying that Deshaun Thomas doesn't want to play defense, just that I expect playing alongside Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale and under Coach Matta will teach him a few things about that part of the game.
My hope is that he is a competent enough defender to help the Buckeyes match up better against teams with a lot of tall wing players, such as the team that knocked Ohio State out of the tournament last year, Tennessee (put your headband at a normal level, Wayne Chism!).
As you can see, there will already be a problem delegating minutes next season from Thad Matta, and we haven't even discussed four of the players from this incredible class, including the player I am most looking forward to seeing, Aaron Craft.
But as cliché as it sounds, having too much talent is a problem every fan and every coach in the country would love to see. Because sometimes that talent ends up not being very talented and leaving after one unproductive year anyway.
I hope you are now slightly more informed about the future of Ohio State basketball. For those craving highlights, I give you Deshaun Thomas. Next up in our profiles will be my future favorite player, Aaron Craft.
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