Ohio State men's basketball: Deshaun Thomas to play overseas

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Nam Y. Huh | Associated Press
Deshaun Thomas played for San Antonio’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League in July and averaged a team-high 12.4 points and five rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game.

Deshaun Thomas still can dream, but basketball is a business for him now, and yesterday the former Ohio State forward made a business decision.

Forced to choose between maybe making the San Antonio Spurs roster for next season or a guaranteed contract to play overseas, Thomas chose the latter, saying he will play next season in France.

European media reports earlier yesterday had Thomas close to signing with Spanish club Estudiantes Madrid, but Thomas said the opportunity in France was better for “playing and getting exposure.”

He was unsure of the name of the team, and his agent, J.R. Hensley, did not confirm last night that an agreement with anyone has been reached.

“We are still evaluating all options,” Hensley said in a text message. Thomas, the Big Ten scoring leader last season, left Ohio State with a year of eligibility remaining and in June was taken by the Spurs with the 58th pick in the NBA draft.

He played for San Antonio’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League in July and averaged a team-high 12.4 points and five rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game.

But the Spurs have a history of letting their draft picks, even first-rounders, get more seasoning overseas before signing them or trading their negotiating rights. Barring a trade, they will retain exclusive rights to Thomas through at least the 2014 draft.

Thomas said he and Hensley spoke with the Spurs last week about offers Thomas had received from European teams and that the Spurs could not guarantee he would make their roster for next season.

“I needed to make a decision,” Thomas said. “In this business, you have to think about family (Thomas has a 17-month-old son). I still could have gone to (training camp) and tried to make the roster, but with my son and a family to provide for, I had to look at that. And developing a year ain’t going to hurt.

“It was kind of tough, because I wanted to make the roster. But if training camp didn’t go well, I’d probably be in the (NBA Development) League, and when you go in the D-League you need another part-time job.

Maryland tip time set

Ohio State’s game against Maryland on Dec. 4 in Value City Arena will tip off at 7 p.m., the Big Ten announced yesterday. The game is televised on ESPN or ESPN2.

The Big Ten announced tipoff times for all 12 games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge yesterday.

bbaptist@dispatch.com

@BBaptistHoops

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