FORT WAYNE – Deshaun Thomas always had the dream to be drafted by an NBA team.
The dream stayed with the Fort Wayne native through his days at Northwood Middle School and into Bishop Luers and the last three years at Ohio State.
It was even there through the seemingly endless wait during the NBA draft into the late hours Thursday night and into Friday morning.
Thomas’ dream was finally realized when the San Antonio Spurs picked the small forward in the second round with the 58th pick.
“It was tough to see the first round go by and your name not called; then into the second round, and your name was still not called,” Thomas said. “It was tough watching it that way. You are watching it patiently, and then your name is finally called, and it felt like a relief.
“It was really weird to see my name come across that board, and to get drafted by such a good organization.”
There were only two more picks in the draft after Thomas.
“It is an opportunity to keep fulfilling my dream,” Thomas said. “I was thinking about all the hard work I have put into my game.”
Thomas goes to an organization that lost in seven games in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat and has four championships in the last 14 years.
“That’s a good fit for me,” Thomas said. “Pop (Spurs coach and fellow Indiana native Gregg Popovich) does a good job of getting guys ready and getting guys as successful as they can be. For them to pick me 58th and believe in me, that was something special. He knows talent, and he picked me.”
Thomas said he reports to the Spurs for the summer rookie league in early July.
“I just want to keep getting better and building,” Thomas said.
The last time someone from Fort Wayne was drafted was Homestead’s Tracy Foster by the Philadelphia 76ers in the sixth round in 1987.
Other players drafted from Fort Wayne were South Side’s Tom Bolyard (1963), South Side’s Mike McCoy (1963), Concordia’s Tom Baack (1968), South Side’s Willie Long (1971), Central’s Clyde Dickey (1974), Concordia’s Eugene Parker (1978), Northrop’s Walter Jordan (1978), Harding’s Jim Master (1984) and South Side’s John Flowers (1986).
And now, Thomas joins that list.
“I never took a day off,” Thomas said. “It was tough, but it was always my goal to get to the NBA.
“For me to keep that going and having that passion is unbelievable. Growing up in a smaller town, there were some guys that were great basketball players who weren’t that successful, but for me to keep fighting and believing is something big.”