INDIANAPOLIS — And then it was over.
The Indiana-based portion of Deshaun Thomas' basketball career came to an end Saturday in Conseco Fieldhouse; and just as in his other outings in the building, he was wildly successful, both individually and teamwise.
Thomas scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds in leading the Indiana All-Stars to an 81-69 win over the Kentucky All-Stars in front of 6,007 fans.
The victory gave Indiana a sweep of the 2010 series and its 20th win in the last 23 games against Kentucky.
“It was great to be (at Conseco Fieldhouse) to play in front of the Indiana fans,” Thomas said.
The 2010 Indiana Mr. Basketball had played at Conseco for Bishop Luers in the IHSAA Class 2A state championship games in 2008 and 2009, winning titles both times.
“I wish I would have been here this year (for the 2010 title game),” Thomas said. “But you can't win them all.”
Perhaps Thomas didn't win them all, but he certainly has won a lot over his career.
He burst upon the Fort Wayne hoops scene as a seventh-grader at Northwood Middle School. Word spread through town that there was a player two years shy of high school who was dunking on people at Spiece Fieldhouse. He eventually landed at Bishop Luers, where he proved to be unguardable from Day One, finishing his career as the only athlete ever to have his jersey retired in the illustrious athletic history of the Knights.
“I can't believe it,” Thomas responded when asked to reflect on his prep career being over. “It came so fast. I can remember when I was just a freshman (at Luers). Now, next year I'm going to be a freshman again (at Ohio State).”
As he often did throughout his high school career, Thomas overwhelmed his opponent Saturday mostly in the post. He was continually fouled and sank 15 of his 18 free-throw attempts.
“I don't think Deshaun is your prototypical post player,” Indiana All-Star coach Ron Hecklinski said. “I think Deshaun is going to be a (small forward in college). I think Deshaun can take (the ball) off of the bounce. I think he can shoot from the perimeter. I'm not sure that he's going to be a post player (in college).”
Thomas was one of three players whom Hecklinski rode to victory Saturday. In addition to Thomas' 30 minutes of playing time, Purdue recruit Terone Johnson (38 minutes) and Butler recruit Crishawn Hopkins (36 minutes) each rarely left the floor. Johnson, who earned the Player of the Game honor, totaled 25 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Hopkins finished with a dozen points, five rebounds and four assists.
“We got some great plays from our three (main) guys,” Hecklinski said.