The DeShaun Thomas saga

As many of you know, 2010 prospect DeShaun Thomas sat directly behind the Hoosiers’ bench a few weekends ago at the Illinois game. He plays for Bishop Luers High School in Ft. Wayne and is ranked No. 3 in his class nationally by

Thomas originally gave an oral commitment to Thad Matta and Ohio State this past June when he was only 15.

In the days following, he took back his pledge. Although it appears the Buckeyes are still the front-runner, he’s open to visiting more schools, as he did Jan. 13 with IU.

I spoke with Thomas this week for a column I wrote for the paper (which should be published in the next few days). He was a nice kid, not very talkative, but I think that’s just because he didn’t want to share too much information on his recruitment. At this point, he’s sticking with the “No comment” plan.

He did tell me that he enjoyed his trip to IU and liked Coach Sampson. He also emphasized the importance of academics several times throughout the interview. When I asked him what his number one goal was for the remainder of high school, I expected him to say either a state championship or winning the Mr. Basketball award. His answer? Graduate.

He also said that Assembly Hall was the loudest arena he’s ever heard. All that bodes well for Kelvin Sampson and his staff as they try and bring in their marquee recruit for the 2010 class.

But, if I had to guess, I still think he’s a Buckeye. They got to him early (which is what you need to do these days, as I write in my column) and I think in the end he’ll head to Columbus. Even more, when I asked him if he’d like to visit other schools in his top five like Duke or North Carolina, he said “Yeah, for sure.”

Just thought I’d give you all an update on where Thomas stands. If it’s any consolation, I’ve heard he’s worth the hype. Brian Snow of told me that he really doesn’t have a weakness to his game, and Thomas said a few people told him that he reminds them of LeBron James. For the season, he’s averaging 29.8 points a game and is already his high school’s all-time leading scorer. As a sophomore.

We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on him over the coming months.


  1. He would be a great recruit and IU fans will go crazy should he decide to be a Hoosier. I’m just not going to do another recruiting soap opera. IU will get players. Kids are smart. They see what’s going on in Bloomington. If they want to play for a ranked team they come to IU. If they want to compete for a national title they will come to IU. If they want to play for a real basketball school with tradition that rates among the elite, they will come to IU. If they want to get ready for the next level they will come to IU. Love to have DeShaun but if he doesn’t sign with IU somebody else that can play will sign.

  2. Sam: I disagree. See this year’s uber-recruit influx with the NBA changing its rules to prevent teenage flameouts. Michael Beasley, AJ Mayo, Eric Gordon, et. al. are the future of the elite teams in college basketball. When you don’t have that 20-plus a night part of your offense, what happens? There are a limited number of DeSean Thomases in existence. There are a limited number of Greg Odens. When any team, including IU this year, can surround a truly great recruit with other significant players, you will compete for Final Fours and NCs and the like. Think of the teams that are really competing for the National Title this year. All of them have significant levels of NBA-level talent on their rosters. If you cannot recruit DeSean Thomas, there is not another DeSean Thomas to take his place. Scarcity drives competition, and we hit the lottery with EJ decommitting from UofI to come to IU this year. If we want to compete with the best, we have to recruit the best, and there is a limited quantity of the best out there, especially ones that come with as little baggage (in terms of off-court issues) as Thomas. LeBron, Durant, Oden, and others like them exist in such infinitesimal quantities that to lose out on Thomas is a major blow. The good news is that he hasn’t committed yet!

  3. You can’t get every top recruit. As we have learned, you can’t even get every top recruit in Indiana. It is just the way it works. No team can claim that they get the top player or a top 5 player every year. Not UNC, or OSU, or anybody. You also can’t just build a team around 5 star guys. you need players that will stay 4 years. When you have a solid rotation of 4 year players that all have a role, you can plug in a top recruit or two and then compete for a NC. There are other players like DeShaun Thomas. IU is in the top 3 (I think at least) for Lance Stephenson, the #1 rated SF in the 2009 class on Landing him would easily offset losing Thomas. I guess what I am trying to say is I totally agree with Sam. You can’t get them all, and you can’t afford to get all caught up in recruiting wars. IU will get theirs, that is for certain.

  4. Ricky makes a lot of sense. Just because you flood your team with 5-star, McDonalds All-Americans doesn’t mean you’ve punched your ticket to the Final Four. Look at Florida’s squad last year. Noah, for one, was not that highly recruited out of high school. It’s hard to mend that kind of talent together (just ask Roy Williams, but then again, there are worse problems as a coach than having too much talent).

    So far this season, I think Sampson’s done an extraordinary job of mending new pieces into the Hoosiers’ line-up. Remember, IU only started two returning players last night vs. Iowa. And that’s because Bassett returned from his injury. If Jordan Crawford had got the nod, it would have been four first year players plus D.J.

  5. I am not an Indiana fan so I don’t have a vested interest in DeShaun Thomas’s recruitment. However, I must say that the Kelvin Sampson’s problems with the NCAA must be a devastating blow. For instance, top high school prospects such as Leslie McDonald who were seriously considering Indiana have now eliminated them as possible options.

    But honestly, I think DeShaun Thomas will be a Buckeye just like Terrelle Pryor is now a Buckeye.

    read the following article:

    But note that the article is published in a newspaper from Columbus, Ohio.

    Ohio State could become the second school (after Florida) to win the men’s basketball NC and the BCS title game.

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