Cody Cousino / Photo editor
With Jared Sullinger heading to the NBA, all focus turns to Deshaun Thomas.
The sophomore forward who elevated his play during Ohio State’s postseason run to the Final Four has to make his own decision about whether to return to school.
Thomas averaged 19.2 points per game in the NCAA Tournament, and at times was OSU’s most lethal scoring threat.
His performances have given him the opportunity to look into going to the NBA.
After OSU lost against Kansas in the Final Four and the season officially ended, Thomas said he hadn’t made a decision yet, but he didn’t discount going to the next level.
“Whatever happens for me, happens for me,” Thomas said. “If something good happens, I’ll look into it and go from there.”
When the basketball team returned from the Final Four Sunday, the team was greeted with a rally at the Schottenstein Center. Thomas was the last player to leave the rally and blew a kiss to the crowd before he left.
Underclassmen have until April 10 to make their decision regarding the draft according to the NCAA, and no date has been set for Thomas to make his official decision.
Wednesday, Thomas appeared to address his upcoming choice from his Twitter account, @DT1UpNComin.
“Got time,” the tweet read.
Coach Thad Matta said Wednesday that he is still gathering information for Thomas so he can better understand what to expect if he decides to declare.
“I’m in the process right now of trying to get as much information as I can for him in terms of talking with teams,” Matta said. “I want to give him all the information so he can make the best decision he possibly can.
Thomas, who averaged 15.4 points and five rebounds for the season as a whole, has acknowledged “everybody’s looking” at his play and that going to the NBA is a dream of his.
“People are starting to notice now what Deshaun can bring to the table,” Thomas said the day before facing Syracuse in the Elite Eight. “Every kid’s dream is to try and make it to the pros.”
Thomas’ teammate, Sullinger, realized that dream Wednesday when he officially entered his name into the NBA Draft.
But just because Sullinger made the decision to go to the next level doesn’t mean he thinks Thomas should do the same.
“I really haven’t talked to Deshaun about the situation,” Sullinger said. “I think personally that’s a decision he has to make with his family and with the coaches. Whatever he does, I support him 100 percent.”
Former senior guard William Buford also had some advice for Thomas and might have a better idea of the decision he’s facing.
Unlike Sullinger, Buford was never projected to be a top-10 pick, which is similar to Thomas’s situation.
After the Kansas game, Buford said his decisions to return to school each year were deeply personal.
“In my life, I didn’t listen to other people,” Buford said. “I still have a chance to get my degree next quarter so I have something to fall back on. If (Sullinger or Thomas) want to leave early, that’s fine if that’s what they thought was the best decision.”
Sullinger is the seventh OSU player under Matta to declare before his senior year for the NBA Draft. Thomas would be the eighth.
Despite Matta losing some of his best players before their eligibility has expired, he said sometimes it’s in his players’ best interest to leave early for the NBA.
“The day you lose sight of what’s best for your players, you probably need to find a new profession,” Matta said.