The Ohio State Buckeyes rolled over NCAA Division II opponent Walsh on Tuesday night at Value City Arena in Columbus.
But the Buckeyes’ win over the Cavaliers isn’t the story. The performance of junior forward Deshaun Thomas is what stands out to me.
Thomas is expected to be one of the primary stars for the Buckeyes.
The former Bishop Luers High School star out of Fort Wayne, Ind., averaged 15.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season and is a preseason All-American.
Against Walsh, Thomas poured in 25 points to pace the Buckeyes, who will now shift their attention to the season opener against Marquette in the Carrier Classic in South Carolina.
Thomas should become the go-to guy for the Buckeyes. He will be that player that, in a tight road game in some hostile Big Ten venue, Thomas needs have the ball in his hands to help Ohio State prevail in crunch time.
Bank on him to be ready to deliver.
Against Walsh, Thomas was 9-of-17 from the field and drilled one 3-pointer. He also grabbed six rebounds and tallied two steals.
Thomas did turn the ball over three times but I don’t think there is too much reason to panic about that statistic.
Thomas will work to make sure he keeps his mistakes at a minimum considering he is going to be counted on to rise up in big moments.
In the post-game press conference, Thomas talked about being ready to take on a more prominent role on the team.
He said the team needs a leader who has been through the battles that come with playing the rugged Big Ten.
Thomas clearly has the potential to be a great leader for the Buckeyes.
Based on the flashes of potential he showed in the exhibition game, he is ready to embrace the role and help the Buckeyes contend for a Big Ten championship and a national championship.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.