NBA draft: Former Buckeye Thomas finally gets call from Spurs

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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San Antonio made Deshaun Thomas the 58th pick in the NBA draft.

It will be good for both parties when Deshaun Thomas gets to San Antonio and the Spurs can speak to him face to face.

Clearly, phone communication between them continues to be difficult.

When Thomas, a former Ohio State forward, interviewed with Spurs officials in May at the NBA predraft combine in Chicago, they parted ways by telling Thomas that he didn’t have to give them his cellphone number, but …

So Thomas, apparently surprised by the spur-of-the-moment request, offered only his email address and joked that they could have the phone number if they drafted him.

Well, they did, shortly after midnight yesterday, with the 58th and third-to-last selection in the NBA draft.

But when they tried to call him, they couldn’t reach him.

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford, speaking to San Antonio media afterward, said he had spoken with the Spurs’ first-round choice, Livio Jean-Charles of France, “but because Deshaun wouldn’t give us his cell number, we weren’t able to call him.”

He was joking. Kind of.

Thomas was in his hotel suite in Indianapolis, where he has been living since leaving Columbus in April, taking photos of the 15 to 20 family members sharing draft night with him. “And my phone was dying,” he said after being reached on the phone about 1 a.m. yesterday.

“Then I saw on TV (that San Antonio had picked him). I was charging my phone up, and I saw I had a missed call from their area code. So I called them back.”

All’s well that ends well.

“They said they were glad I’m going to be with the Spurs,” Thomas said, “and they’re going to try to make me as successful as possible and get me better as a player.”

Thomas’ agent, J.R. Hensley, said Thomas is expected to report to San Antonio by July 8 and practice with other players on the Spurs’ team in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League. Games are scheduled July 12-22.

Buford said the Spurs were surprised that Thomas slipped as far as he did in the draft because he can score and play more than one position. Thomas led the Big Ten in scoring last season.

“He’ll make outside shots, you can put him in the post, he can slash,” Buford said. “I don’t know that, if you try to say specifically here’s what he does, that you’re going to be overwhelmed by anything or he probably would have been drafted higher. But the package is pretty good.”

bbaptist@dispatch.com

@BBaptistHoops

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