On Friday afternoon, DeShaun Thomas officially declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, ending a three year career as an Ohio State Buckeye. In a statement, Thomas said, “My three years at Ohio State have been the best years of my life. 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’ departure comes as no surprise to any Buckeye, but Ohio State fans will surely be sad to see him go.
DeShaun Thomas’ career at Ohio State began with his commitment to the Buckeyes in his freshman year of high school. In his four years of high school ball for Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Thomas averaged 29.9 points per game and ended his career as the 3rd leading scorer in Indiana high school basketball history. Thomas couldn’t stay away from the Buckeyes even in his high school days. In his senior season, Thomas and the Bishop Luers team traveled to Columbus to play in the Ohio Scholastic Play-by-Play classic. In an ironic series of circumstances, Thomas was set to play Columbus Northland High School who’s stars were none other than future Buckeyes, Jared Sullinger and J.D. Weatherspoon. Thomas was then elected to play in the McDonald’s High School All-American game, which, again ironically, was set to be played in Columbus. A few of his high school accolades include Mr. Basketball in Indiana, the Associated Press Indiana All Century High School Basketball Team, Parade All American Team, and 1st Team All State, in addition to being the only player in his high school’s history to have his uniform retired.
Once finally a full-fledged Buckeye, Thomas started off with a bang. In his first game against North Carolina A&T, DeShaun scored 24 points and grabbed 8 boards, helping him to become the B1G player of the week. In his freshman season, Thomas came to be known as a chucker or, in other words, a guy who shoots the ball a whole lot. He was an important part of the Ohio State team, but it was obvious that he was going to need time to develop for the Buckeyes. In 14 minutes a game, Thomas averaged 7.5 points per game on 47.9% shooting.
In his second year with Ohio State, Thomas was a key catalyst in getting the Buckeyes to the Final Four. With Jared Sullinger leading the way for the Buckeyes, Thomas played a secondary role, but was still able to put up impressive numbers. Thomas’ minutes doubled in his sophomore season and his numbers did as well. In 39 games, Thomas scored 15.9 points per game, shot 34.5% from beyond the arc, and 52% from the field. It was in his second year that DeShaun solidified himself as a bonafide scorer at the college level. In two games against South Carolina Upstate and University of South Carolina, Thomas scored 53 points total, including a 30 point outing in a beating of the Gamecocks. Whenever Jared Sullinger was battling back problems, Thomas stepped right up to fill the scoring role. It was thanks to his efforts that the Buckeyes were one of the top basketball teams in the nation.
Thomas, in his junior season, finally took on the role of NCAA Basketball superstar. With the departure of Sullinger and Buckeye legend William Buford, DeShaun was now the full time scorer and star for the Buckeyes. Everything was going to run through him, and run through him it did. While the Buckeyes failed to live up to expectations early, Thomas was brilliant. Thomas averaged 20.8 points and scored a season high 31 points against the Washington Huskies in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Tip Off Tournament, earning him the MVP award for the tourney.
The Buckeyes went on their eleven game winning streak when DeShaun played a less dominant role on the offensive end. He was still able to get up his shots, but with less points came more team success. DeShaun, being the player and the teammate he is, didn’t complain and embraced his new-found role, helping to find other open players. It was when DeShaun started to be double-teamed that the Buckeyes were at their best.
In the NCAA Tournament, DeShaun had to return to his old form as the Buckeyes couldn’t seem to score the basketball. In each tournament game, Thomas scored over 20 points, including a 22 point game against the Iowa State Cyclones, in which he finished 8-14 from the field. In Thomas’ last game as a Buckeye, he scored 23 points but finished 0-6 from behind his home at the three point line as the Buckeyes were downed by the Wichita State Shockers.
DeShaun Thomas’ career at Ohio State was an amazing ride for both Thomas and Buckeye fans alike. Ohio State wasn’t used to having a dynamic scorer like DeShaun on the court, and it was tantalizing to watch. Scoring in any way imaginable, DeShaun wowed Buckeye crowds with his incredible ability to put the ball through the hoop. In his time at Ohio State, DeShaun scored 1,630 points, shot 48% from the field, made 143 3-point shots, and shot 33.9% from beyond the arc. He won 94 games in his time at Ohio State, made two Elite 8 appearances, and made one Final Four appearance. Maybe most importantly of all, DeShaun only lost to Michigan twice in 6 tries, posting a 4-2 record against That Team Up North.
On behalf of Buckeye Nation, I want to say thank you for everything, DeShaun. You brought us joy, laughs, and an inexplicable amount of pride during your time as an Ohio State Buckeye. You were nothing but class throughout your Buckeye career, making Ohio State more proud than any of your on the court accomplishments. We certainly will miss all of your shots falling through the net, but most importantly, we will miss the man that stood underneath that #1 Ohio State uniform.