Sports Updates every 20 minutes
Weekday mornings and afternoons
Basketball Bucksline: Mondays 7-8 p.m.
Sunday Morning Sports Talk: 9 a.m.-noon
Crew fans get more on your favorite team
By Matt McCoy
To listen to former Buckeye captain and 610 WTVN's Tony White talk about Deshaun Thomas decision to declare for the NBA draft click HERE:
Buckeye junior Deshaun Thomas made the decison everyone expected Friday. The junior from Fort Wayne announced that he's leaving Ohio State a year early for the NBA draft.
Thomas pending decision was a frequent topic on basketball Bucksline this season and former Buckeye captain and WTVN analyst Tony White has maintained all along that the Big Ten's leading scorer needed to return next year.
"It's not a surprise but it's also very disappointing...I'm disappointed for (Deshaun) because I think this is the wrong decision for him. I think he's making a mistake," Tony said Friday after Thomas made his announcement. "I don't believe he's ready for the NBA. I understand the pressures he is under and his desire to (make money) at the next level but let's be honest...the kid is not ready for the NBA and most likely will not be a first round pick."
There is a school of thought that Thomas is leaving to cash in as soon as possible. He has a one-year old son and even if he does not make the NBA, he will have an opportunity support his family by making money playing basketball overseas.
There's also no guarantee that his stock would improve with another year. Thomas will likely have to play on the perimeter as a shooting guard or small forward at the next level, and his limitations may still be there even with another year of seasoning at Ohio State. What's Tony's take on that hypothesis?
"I couldn't disagree with that suggestion more," Tony said. "As a player, you get better based upon your effort, your determination and in the off-season, your desire to improve your game in critical areas. If Deshaun Thomas spent the next six months getting ready for his senior year, working on his ball handling, working on his ability to beat people one-on-one off the dribble instead of catching and shooting, then he could have, I believe, made himself into a first round pick."
Tony does admit, that Thomas could be on the verge of a lucrative career abroad but still believes another year at Ohio State would have been the way to go.
"He can go overseas and make good money but probably not enough money where he is going to be set for life where he and his family don't have to worry about him going out and getting a job and doing all the stuff that all us regular peolpe have to do," Tony said. "That's the opportunity I think he's forgoing by not coming back and working on his skills and working to become a first round draft pick with guaranteed NBA money."
With Thomas gone, Tony said next year's Buckeyes should start the year ranked "in the 15 to 20 range."
"If I were on the Ohio State basketball team right now I would be both sad and excited...sad that I'm losing Deshaun Thomas who is obviously a great player in college but excited because a boat load of shots just became open and the question is who is going to step up to take them?" Tony said. "I think LaQuinton Ross is going to be a big factor next year...I think he has to be but I think you're going to have to see Sam Thompson step up and I think Aaron Craft is going to have an opportunity as well if he can develop some type of consistant outside jump shot."