Rejoice, Buckeye fans, for the Tank will lead the way into battle next season. In a press release from Ohio State this afternoon Deshaun Thomas announced that he will return for his junior season. This is obviously great news for the Buckeyes, who lost two of their top three scorers in Jared Sullinger and William Buford. Thomas’s return means that three starters return to the lineup in 2012-13. The backcourt tandem of Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. join Tank as returning starters.
How about a quote from Deshaun?
“We have a great team returning next season and I want to be a part of another championship run,” Thomas said. “My family, my coaches and I looked at my future as a professional but I love being a Buckeye and want to continue my education and development as a player and as a person at Ohio State.”
Thomas started all 39 games for the Buckeyes this past season and was second to Sullinger in scoring, averaging 15.9 points and 5.4 rebounds. He led Ohio State in FG% (54%) and was second in total rebounds (209) and offensive boards (100). He was second in the B1G in offensive rebounds per game (2.6). He scored 30 or more twice and 20 or more nine times last season, and reached double figures 34 times. He turned up the heat even more in the postseason, averaging 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds. After an impressive 18.3 points and 6.3 boards per contest in the B1G tourney, he posted even better numbers in the NCAA tournament (19.2/7.6). He averaged 21.8 points in the East regional games. Oh, and he also scored an A- in our recent shooty hoops report cards.
The Tank will need to improve his defense in his junior season and also become more consistent from long range if he wants to impress NBA scouts. Thomas took a huge leap between his freshman and sophomore years, and another year of tutelage from Thad Matta and his staff could turn the Fort Wayne, IN native into a contender for the All-America team.