Matt Edwards / Asst. multimedia editor
Ohio State sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas is a shooter, but not in the same way Jon Diebler, former OSU guard and all-time Big Ten leader in made three pointers, was.
Thomas is a shooter because he likes to shoot – a lot.
In high school, Thomas shot whenever he wanted because that’s what his team asked him to do. When he graduated, he was the No. 3-leading scorer in the history of the basketball-rich state of Indiana.
So when Thomas came to OSU as a freshman, Thomas did what he had always done. He kept shooting.
He was shooting so much that coach Thad Matta had to tell him to slow down, but at the same time he didn’t want to discourage Thomas to the point that he lost confidence.
“He’s one of the best scorers in the nation,” OSU sophomore forward James “JD” Weatherspoon said. “You can’t take that away from his game. He’s going to knock down shots. It’s what he does.”
Thomas averaged 7.5 points a game in an average of 14 minutes of action as a freshman last year. His ability to score a high volume of points in a short amount of time earned him the nickname of “microwave offense.”
This year, with the departure of seniors Diebler, David Lighty and Dallas Lauderdale, who started the majority of the games last year, Thomas plans to step into a starting role for the upcoming season.
It’s a role Matta, along with Thomas’s teammates, said he’s grown to accept.
“He’s got a much better understanding of how to play,” Matta said. “He understands the importance of the defensive end of it. He understands the importance of the pass, the moving, the rebounding. I’ve been very, very pleased with his progress.”
Matta also said Thomas has learned about when to shoot and when to pass.
“The other day in the workout he threw a pass away and one of the coaches started to say something,” Matta said. “I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. He passed. I’ll teach him how to connect the dots.'”
Senior guard William Buford laughed when asked about Thomas shooting too much, but said it was a thing of the past.
“No, not no more,” Buford said. “He used to. You know he used to. He’s learning like what’s a good shot, what’s a bad shot. He’s passing more. He’s just a smarter basketball player.”
But that doesn’t mean Thomas is going to stop shooting anytime soon or ditch the “microwave” mentality. Thomas embraces it.
“I’m going to go out like everybody call me — the microwave,” Thomas said. “I’m trying to heat up at any minute so I’m just going to be the same old me with more time out there and having fun.”
More than just shooting, Thomas has worked on the physical aspect of the game as well and has taken full advantage of the Buckeyes’ offseason-conditioning program, Matta said the changes are noticeable.
“You can obviously look at him and tell a lot of things have happened to him over the summer,” Matta said. “It’s amazing how he looks this year compared to how he looked last year.”
The Buckeyes open their season Nov. 11 against Wright State at 9 p.m. and with the beginning of a new season, Thomas said he’s ready to begin his next chapter too.
“I’m here to show everybody what I really got,” Thomas said.