Since he has become the head coach of the Ohio State basketball team, Thad Matta has done a tremendous job on the court. A big part of that success has come through his ability to recruit elite talent which has come in the form of star players such as Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook, David Lighty, Evan Turner, Kosta Koufos, and others who have contributed to the three Big Ten titles the Bucks have won in the past five years. As good as those players have been, no class as whole may be as good as the recruiting class of 2010 that Thad and staff are brining in next year.
The six man class, referred to as "The Super Six" include some of the nation's top players including in-town product Jared Sullinger, who is rated amongst the top three players in the class by virtually all recruiting services. Sullinger was named a McDonald's All-American last month, but was not alone, as his recruiting classmate and fellow top-ranked stud, Deshaun Thomas of Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, will be joining him in Columbus later this month for high school basketball's greatest honor.
Thomas is an absolute freak of an athlete who is currently averaging over 30 points per game in his senior season and stands second on the all-time scoring list in Indiana, scoring more points in his amateur career than Hoosier-state legend, Larry Bird. Thomas is a prototypical scorer who has great strength on the inside and can also come outside with a smooth jump shot. On defense his size and athleticism allow him to guard a number of different positions, which should be valuable to the versatile players he will face in the Big Ten. He is a candidate to start right away and some say he may produce so well for the Bucks next year that he becomes the next "one-and-done" player to grace the Value City Arena court.
We caught up with Deshaun to discuss the latest in his senior season, the rumors about him being "one-and-done", his feelings on playing in the McDonald's game and more.
What's going on currently with your senior season? Where do you guys stand in the state playoffs? How do you feel your individual performance has been this season? Well we just won the sectional championship. My game is good and I mean we are winning [which is what matters] and the points are there.
We saw you when you played Northland in Columbus. Are you excited for your return trip for the McDonald's game when you actually get to play with Jared instead of against him? Yeah, I'm happy to play again on campus at Ohio State. I think we put on a show for the Buckeye fans back when we played Northland, but now people get to see me and Jared play together at the McDonald's game. It's going to be interesting.
Why did you choose OSU as the place you wanted to play your college basketball? I picked Ohio State because of the great coach they have and the players that have been drafted from there. All in all, it's a wonderful place.
There have been rumblings in the past you want to be one-and-done. Is this your plan or are you just going to see how things play out and take it step by step? My thing is to play to the best of my ability and then see what happens from there.
Is it important to you to start immediately when you get to Columbus or would you be OK with coming off the bench? My mind set is to go there and start, but hey, if coach needs me to come off the bench, then I will do what it takes to help the team.
What do you feel is your greatest strength as a player? Well I feel my strengths are that I play hard, hit big shots when they are needed, and play as a teammate.
Who are you closest to in the recruiting class? I'm closest with Jared [Sullinger] and JD [Weatherspoon].
Who is the best player you have ever played against? The best player I've played against is Harrison Barnes [of Ames, Iowa who is going to UNC].
If you could tell Buckeye Nation one thing, what would it be? That I'm doing whatever it takes to keep them happy and win basketball games for Ohio State.
Here is a video of Deshaun after they played Northland at the Schottenstein Center:
Here is a video of Thomas dunking against Northland:
Here is a nice pick-and-roll basket by Deshaun in the Northland game:
Here is a video with highlights of Thomas: