2010 Indiana Mr. Basketball Deshaun Thomas left his home state for college at Ohio State. But he's back home again in Indiana preparing for the NBA draft. Thursday, Thomas joined five other draft hopefuls in the Indiana Pacers first pre-draft workout at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"Felt good to be here at home and putting on for the Pacers," said Thomas after a workout in front of Pacers front office personnel, coaches and scouts. "I wouldn't hate it if they draft me. It would be a good experience to be home."
The Fort Wayne native has been living and working out in Indianapolis since his season ended at Ohio State. Thomas enters the NBA draft after his junior season for the Buckeyes.
"I felt like it was time to take my life to the next level and my game to the next stage," said Thomas. "I stuck with it. No second guesses at all. I really don't know where I'm going to land. But when I land at that place, it's going to be a blessing."
Thomas enlisted the help of St. Vincent Sports Performance to prepare for the draft. He also watched the Pacers make a deep playoff run.
"I was rooting for them," said Thomas. "When was the last time the Pacers went to the Finals? They played well as a team. They played good defense as a team. They just had heart. I wish they would have gotten over that hump. They had a great season."
Last season, Thomas averaged just under 20 points and six rebounds a game for Ohio State. Most NBA mock drafts the 6-foot-7, 220 pound prospect listed as a likely second round draft pick.
"I see myself as a great scorer with good character and a will to win," said the left-handed Thomas. "Everybody knows a guy like me can score in different ways. I'm looking to come out here and give the effort and have fun. I'm going to keep putting the ball in the hole while also focusing on giving more effort and being sound on the defensive end."
Thomas has about 10 workouts planned for NBA teams across the country. He is playing both the 2 and 3 guard positions.
"It's fun," said Thomas. "It's a blessing. There are a lot of kids who would like to be in our shoes. It's been kind of challenging because you never know where you are going to end up at. But you just have to have fun with it and enjoy it."
Thomas earned Indiana Mr. Basketball honors in 2010 as a senior at Fort Wayne Luers High School. He was also a McDonald's All-American.
The Pacers have another pre-draft workout scheduled Friday that includes former Butler center Andrew Smith out of Covenant Christian High School in Indianapolis and former Michigan guard Tim Hardaway. Hardaway is listed as potential first round draft pick for the Pacers in several NBA mock drafts with the 23rd overall pick.