Next up in our 2012-2013 position previews are the small forwards. This group consists of one veteran scorer and two sophomores that need to take their games to the next level. First up, preseason All-American Deshaun Thomas.
Deshaun Thomas is 6’7″ Jr. from Fort Wayne, IN. Thomas is the leading scorer returning from last year’s team. He averaged 16 pts/game. Deshaun made a splash in last year’s NCAA tournament. He received accolades from various national networks. He was quoted as saying, “I love to score” which will have a big impact on the buckeyes success this season. One thing that impresses me about Deshaun’s game is his knack for finding open spots in the middle of a zone defense and his talent to hit those mid-range jumpers. Offensively, Thomas will fill the stat sheet as a prototypical small forward, but one key to success this year will be Thomas’ ability to guard other power forwards. Matta’s projected starting line-up will have Thomas in the “four position”. Not really a change from last year, but still an important aspect of the defensive system. This season will likely be Deshaun’s last in a buckeye uniform. I believe he will live up to the hype of his preseason All-American selection.
LaQuinton Ross is a 6’8″ So. from Jackson, MS. Much like Shannon Scott, it remains to be seen if LaQuinton will live up to the expectations placed on him out of high school. Ross has a reputation as a pure shooter. Maybe it is just me, but it seems like teams played a lot of zone defense against the buckeyes over the last couple of years. As a team the buckeyes shot 33% from 3-point range last year. Without a strong low-post scorer this year, I believe it is imperative that the 3-point percentage is closer to 40%. I am looking for Ross to step up and be a zone killer a la John Diebler. His length will create mismatches for opposing defenders which should facilitate his scoring ability.
Sam Thompson is a 6’7″ So. from Chicago, IL. Sam gets the privilege of two introductory photos due to the fact that his head is in danger anytime he jumps around the rim. I don’t care if he is 6’7″; the kid can jump out of the gym. Sam Thompson is definitely the most athletic of the three small forwards. He will provide a spark in whatever role he settles into. I think everyone will agree that the starting line-up will include two of the three players listed in this preview. It will be interesting to see how the minutes are distributed. Reports from practice have noted Thompson developing into a lock down defender. If this carries over to the season, Sam will see plenty of minutes. Sam’s athleticism is unquestioned (just youtube “Sam Thompson Ohio State” for proof), but I believe he needs to continue to develop his fundamentals to reach his full potential.
Please enjoy only one sample of what Sam brings to the table. More please!!