Found October 25, 2012 on Fox Sports Ohio:
CHICAGO -- When decision time came for Deshaun Thomas last spring, he handled it much in the same way he'd handled his decision to attend Ohio State. He trusted himself to know what was best. Though he's been known to use third-person -- during last year's NCAA Tournament, he said he knew Deshaun was special in fourth grade -- Thomas wasn't saying that selfishly. Early in a high school career that saw him become Indiana's third-leading all-time scorer, he'd picked Thad Matta's Ohio State program and stuck with it. After helping the Buckeyes to the Final Four last spring, Thomas flirted with the NBA. He thought about it and came "very close" to leaving, but ultimately decided to return to Ohio State for his junior season. "It was a decision to stay humble and get better at what I'm doing," Thomas said. "I still have goals to take care of. That's trying to get a Big Ten championship, then a national championship, then the sky's the limit for me." Without saying it directly, you sense his plan. One more year. One great one. His return for the 2012-2013 season is a big reason Ohio State is No. 4 in the preseason top 25 and why many think this could be the best season of Big Ten basketball in some time. Thomas and teammate and classmate Aaron Craft were voted to the All-Big Ten Preseason Team at the league's annual media day festivities Thursday. Thomas came to Chicago as a changed man -- and not just leaner, more confident or as a known commodity after averaging 15.9 points per game last season and posting 31 and 24-point games in the NCAA Tournament. He sees the individual opportunity ahead with the Buckeyes having lost 32 points per game from the departures of Jared Sullinger and William Buford, but he also sees the chance to be a more complete and reliable player, one who can score in a variety of ways. "I'm best running that wing, creating off the bounce," Thomas said. "But ain't nothing wrong with getting an easy bucket down low sometimes. There's a lot to my game, and it's not about me. A rebound and a putback at the right moment, that helps the team. Being able to step out and stretch the defense, that helps too." As a freshman, Thomas was the seventh man in what was essentially a six-and-a-half man rotation for the Buckeyes, who entered the 2011 NCAA Tournament as the top overall seed. He played his best basketball in the back half of last season, developing a confidence and a sense of urgency that made the Buckeyes a very tough cover in a late push that saw them end up sharing the Big Ten title and winning the East Regional. Last October, Matta said Thomas had learned the meaning of the word "pass" between his freshman and sophomore seasons and said that marked progress. He was only partially joking. "His evolution as a college basketball player has been a phenomenal thing to watch," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "To his credit, he's put himself in the position he's in with hard work. He's starting to get an understanding of the little things it takes to be great. "I couldn't be more pleased with his attitude and how he's accepted his leadership role." Thomas said his focus last summer was on eating well and working to be a reliable scorer both inside and out. This year's Ohio State team should be deep and athletic, but it remains to be seen how teams will defend Thomas and where Ohio State will turn to complement his scoring. He said he spent "late nights" in the gym at Ohio State and attended a Nike camp in June and the Adidas Nations event later in the summer. Asked how he performed there, Thomas couldn't hide a smile. "Everybody loved me," he said. Thomas said he has no regrets now about putting the NBA on hold. He's confident he talked to the right people -- and in the end, trusted himself. "We talked about it, but I think he had in his mind what he wanted to do," Matta said. "I wanted what was right for him. I don't think Deshaun wants to get to the NBA just to say he could get there. I think he wants to stay a while and make a difference. "I think he's on his way."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Buckeyes' Miller says he's fine

When Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller first was hurt in Saturday's game against Purdue, he didn't know what to think. He'd never before been thrown down on his head and neck. ''I didn't know what it was,'' he said of his injury. ''I was just a little bit dizzy from the hit, whiplash. So they sent me to the hospital to see what it was...

Buckeyes ranked fourth in pre-season AP poll

For the second straight season The Ohio State men’s basketball team enters the year ranked in the Associated Press top five. The Buckeyes start the season ranked fourth, matching their ranking in the pre-season coaches’ poll. The top five in the AP poll looks identical to the rankings as voted on by the coaches. Indiana is the national favorite, collecting 43 of 65 first place...

Penn State v. Ohio State, Stage Set for Probation Bowl

Penn State senior QB Matt McGloin is ready to battle QB Braxton Miller and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The two best teams in the Big Ten conference are pitted to play each other this Saturday night. Despite their dominance on the field, both teams are ineligible for post season play because of NCAA sanctions dubbing this marquee match-up the Probation Bowl.  Even though Ohio State...

OSU's Guiton, Fields get time in spotlight

From the moment they first set foot on Ohio State's football team, quarterback Kenny Guiton and receiver Chris Fields have been in the background. Fans and reporters brushed by them to get to the starters. Their names seldom were mentioned unless it was someone casting doubt whether they could even fill in if they were suddenly thrust into a game when it mattered. For years...

Despite exciting win, Buckeyes have lots to fix

In the jubilation that followed Ohio State's strain-the-imagination win over Purdue on Saturday, several important considerations were pushed into the background. Yes, the ninth-ranked Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) stayed unbeaten with the heart-pounding 29-22 overtime win in which they trailed by eight points with 47 seconds left and had the ball at their own 39 and their best...

Bank Blog: Recruiting Update

Ohio State has been in a holding pattern with the 2013 recruiting class, with only one commitment (Tyquan Lewis) since late July. Are things ready to break loose for the Buckeyes? Let's take a look.

Report: Ohio State RB Jordan Hall reinjures knee; out for season

According to coach Urban Meyer’s call in show (hat tip to 97.1 The Fan’s Lori Schmidt) , RB Jordan Hall reinjured his knee in practice yesterday. The injury is serious enough that Hall likely won’t play again this season. Meyer said “If all goes well, he’ll redshirt and come back next year.” Hall played in parts of 5 games for the Buckeyes after missing the beginning...

Is Urban Meyer Good For The Big Ten?

From the time  it was announced that Jim Tressel would be leaving Ohio State, one man had been on the minds of not just the Buckeye faithful, but all of the Big Ten:  Urban Meyer. Even as Luke Fickell took over the reins for Ohio State last season, the writing was on the wall that Fickell was there to serve as the buffer between the Tressel and Meyer eras. The minute Meyer set...

Coach's Corner: Michael Hill

What type of prospect is Ohio State getting in Michael Hill? Hill's head coach Paul Sutherland talks about that in this interview with Scout.

Coach Bruce talks of OT thriller, Penn State game & more

Former Ohio State head coach and mentor to Urban Meyer, Earle Bruce, talks about the Buckeyes and their thrilling overtime win over Purdue, OSU’s upcoming game against Penn State and more in this week’s installment. At Ohio State, Bruce was...

Overheard at Ohio State: Penn State Week

Praise was heavy for the Buckeyes who stepped up to rally past Purdue last week as well as for the recovery of the Penn State program from a potentially devastating tragedy and scandal. We look at that and more in this week's review.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.