Ohio State junior forward Deshaun Thomas has numbers similar to what Pac-12 Player of the Year Allen Crabbe averaged at Cal this season, but Thomas poses more of a threat.
Arizona, which plays the Buckeyes (28-7) Thursday in the Sweet 16 in L.A., knows how difficult Crabbe was to handle. Crabbe scored a season-high 31 points in Cal’s 77-69 win over Arizona (27-7) at McKale Center on Feb. 10.
The biggest difference between these wing players is Thomas has size — 6-foot-7-inches and 225 pounds — compared to Crabbe (6-6, 210). Thomas is a bull supported by a much more balanced cast.
Thomas is the Big Ten’s top scorer at 19.7 points per game. He averages 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. Crabbe tops the Pac-12 with 18.4 points a game. He averaged 6.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game before Cal was eliminated by Syracuse Saturday night.
“He’s so different and unique as a player,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said of Thomas on Monday. “It’s hard to describe him as a player. On one hand he’s a great three-point shooter, and on the other he’s big and he’s physical and he can score around the basket.
“He’s hard for everyone in the country and he’s a reason why Ohio State is who they are and we are no different. We will have to prepare well and it will be a team effort against him.”