Apr 5, 2013, 2:29 PM EDT
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Ohio State announced on Friday afternoon that junior forward Deshaun Thomas has elected to forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the 2013 NBA Draft. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Thomas averaged 19.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest this season, helping to lead Ohio State to an Elite Eight appearance.
“My three years at Ohio State have been the best years of my life,” Thomas said in a statement released by the school. “I have grown tremendously as an individual and as a basketball player. I intend to return to finish my degree, but I believe that now is the best opportunity to pursue my dream and begin my career as a professional basketball player.
“I will always be a Buckeye and am blessed to be a part of the Ohio State University family.”
Thomas is one of 25 player in the history of Ohio State basketball to tally at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, and the feeling of many was that another year in Columbus would not have done a great deal for his draft prospects.
The question now is whether or not he can do enough in the pre-draft process to lock down a spot in the first round. Ohio State will certainly miss their star forward, but with the return of players such as LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Sam Thompson the Buckeyes won’t lack for scoring options on the wings.
“To see Deshaun grow into the man he has become has been amazing,” head coach Thad Matta said. “His accomplishments on the floor speak for themselves but I am just as proud of him and what he has done off the floor. We recruited him offering the opportunity to grow as a person and player and that is exactly what happened.
“I know there is much more in-store for him in the future and I am proud to have been able to coach him.”
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