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File | Associated Press

Deshaun Thomas stays at Ohio State

Deshaun Thomas isn't ready to end his college basketball career.

The Bishop Luers graduate decided to return to Ohio State for his junior season, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta announced Friday.

"We have a great team returning next season and I want to be a part of another championship run," Thomas said on the university's website. "My family, my coaches and I looked at my future as a professional, but I love being a Buckeye and want to continue my education and development as a player and as a person at Ohio State."

The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 15.9 points and 5.4 rebounds as Ohio State reached the Final Four this season.

Thomas is the top returning scorer and rebounder for the Buckeyes. Jared Sullinger, who led the team this season with 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds, is leaving to enter the NBA draft.

"Deshaun, his family and our coaching staff have spent the last week evaluating his future," Matta said. "Deshaun determined he wants to remain a Buckeye. We are looking forward to building on the success our team enjoyed in 2011-12 with Deshaun playing a significant role next year."

Thomas has averaged 11.8 points in 76 games with Ohio State, making 39 starts.

Ohio State has won two Big Ten regular-season titles, reached the conference tournament championship game twice and made it to at least the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in Thomas' two seasons in Columbus, Ohio.

Thomas was named the 2010 Indiana Mr. Basketball after leading the state in scoring in 2008 and 2009. He was a three-time Tiffany Gooden Award winner and led Luers to Class 2A state titles in 2008 and 2009.

Thomas scored 3,018 points at Luers, becoming only the third boys player in state history to surpass 3,000. He is third on the all-time scoring list in Indiana high school history after Damon Bailey and Marion Pierce.

"If I do have an opportunity to play basketball professionally, I want to have an immediate impact," Thomas said. "Working with my teammates and coaches at Ohio State will help me achieve my future goals."

tkrausz@jg.net

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