Originally written on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 9/21/14
Five issues and or questions facing Ohio State basketball now that the 2012-13 season is over. 1. Deshaun's Decision The easy choice as the top question of the offseason doesn't have a definite answer. It wouldbe a surprise -- but not a total shock -- if Deshaun Thomas returns to Ohio State for his senior season. The BigTen's leading scorer in 2012-13 might not be a top-20 pick in June's NBA Draft, but Thomas came to Ohio State intending to use it as a launching pad to the NBA and might not be willing to wait any longer. ohio State should be fine either way. The guess here -- and it's just a guess -- is that Thad Matta expects Thomas to go but would welcome him back. If Thomas does return, Ohio State probably figures as the (very, very early) preseason Big Ten favorite and a top 5-7 team nationally. 2. Coming Back Stacked Even if Thomas leaves, Ohio State will likely bring back fourstarters plus its potential best offensive player in LaQuinton Ross and the second part of a point guard duo Matta likes to play in tandem in Shannon Scott. Leadership should be handled through Aaron Craft and the fact that that Ohio State's top six returnees would be upperclassmen, all of whom now have big-game and big-stage experience. The Buckeyes would again be a very athletic, defensive-minded team comfortable in fast-paced games. The big questions would revolve around replacing the scoring of Thomas (Ross), getting more from the post than the Buckeyes got this season and how much offense Sam Thompson, Craft and Scott could continue to provide after all showed improvement in that area in the stretch run of 2012-13. 3. Too Soon? Ross has NBA talent, which he flashed in March. He also has a long, long way to go. He saidafter the Buckeyes' loss in the Elite Eight that he planned to return to school, but no young person should be held to that -- and anything can happen if the wrong person gets the ear of Ross. The bottom line is that he should return, continue to expand his offensive game and grow as a player, and if he takes off he'll have a shot at being a lottery pick in 2014 -- and maybe one of the Big Ten's best players next winter. Conventional wisdom says almost every player who was in that group this season will be headed to the NBA soon, and Ross could maximize his opportunities by returning for and working to maximize his junior season. 4. Room To Grow Ohio State still needs to be a better shooting team overall,and it will need center Amir Williams to get stronger and grow as an all-around player. The one departing senior, Evan Ravenel, often played bigger minutes than Williams did, and though Williams certainly made strides as a sophomore, he never seemed to put two or three good games together. Craft will have to improve his shot and score more, especially if Thomas leaves, and the onus will be on the likes of Ross, Thompson and Scott to combine their raw talent with the potential and improvement each flashed as sophomores and embrace whatever new opportunities lie ahead. Lenzelle Smith could be asked to do more on the glass and play more of a small forward role if Thomas departs, too. The Buckeyes certainly have pieces. Individual improvement in key areas in the coming months could pay huge dividends for the team next season. 5. Familiar Faces Transfer season -- starting soon and running through June, essentially -- has become its own season in today's college basketball landscape. It seems unlikely Ohio State would lose any scholarship players to transfer this year after losing two a year ago, but nothing is certain. It's also too early to know if the Buckeyes will be legitimate contenderssuitors for high-profile transfers (or if any potential transfer would have 2013-14 eligibility), but the Buckeyes could certainly use some post scoring and more shooting. Just two high school class of 2013 graduates are entering the program, 6'8 forward Marc Loving (Ohio's Mr. Basketball) and 6'2 shooting guard Kameron Williams of Baltimore. Both are top-100 recruits nationally, but it's hard to imagine either cracking the starting lineup next season. The Buckeyes will probably bring back either four or five starters, plus Ross and Scott, and will rely on their experience and athleticism in chasing another deep run through the NCAA tournament. The future is bright because talent is in place, Ohio's high school classes of the next three years are talent-rich and Matta has both established the Buckeyes program among the nation's best and positioned it to continue to trend upward.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

2014 World Series: Game Three live blog

Memorabilia dealer at center of Todd Gurley scandal fired

Colt McCoy on learning he was starting ‘it’s about f—ing time’

Four Questions for Game 3 of the World Series

Percy Harvin not planning on changing

Ricky Williams: People are let down when I turn down weed

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

Randall Cobb: Contract situation played role in slow start

Notre Dame WR faces discipline if he hooked up with porn star?

PGA president calls Ian Poulter ‘lil girl’ for Nick Faldo comments

Belichick declines to address Revis' reported tardiness

Texas mayor delays Halloween for Friday night football game

8 NFL records that won’t be broken for a long time

Big trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks, possibly more

Blazers, Seahawks owner Paul Allen gives $100M to fight ebola

'FIFA 15' glitch turns goalie into headless giant with no arms

WATCH: HBO releases trailer of 'The Offseason: Kevin Durant'

Broncos corner snags INT, then takes pregnant wife to hospital

Gurley dressed up as a pirate for Halloween, yelled, 'Free me'

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Nick Saban pens touching letter after high school coach dies

NBA Replay Center readies for its debut on Opening Night

WATCH: Former NBAer delivers vicious flying elbow Down Under

RNS looking to add agents with existing client rosters

Buckeyes News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Trouble for Bruins: Chara out 4-6 weeks

Joe Maddon opts out of contract with Rays

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Programs with a lot on the line this week

Wilson denies rumored Harvin rift

Lakers: Steve Nash out for season

Is Mack Brown SMU's best option?

Are sports leagues finally getting serious about domestic violence?

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.