FORT WAYNE — The next step in former Bishop Luers standout Deshaun Thomas’ career closed after playing five games for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA’s summer rookie league.
“It has been a great experience,” Thomas said to Chris Wenk of Spurs.com in a video posted on the team’s website. “There are a lot of guys out here competing to get a spot on each team. From a rookie standpoint, you get a little nervous when you get to that first game. But this is a great experience to be out here to show what you got and how hard you have been working to get to this point.
“I thought it would be a little more aggressive and a little more not getting my shot off, but it is me being more aggressive and running with great pace. That’s what the Spurs’ offense is about, running with great pace and getting easy baskets and easy shots. It’s just been going out there and being me. A lot of guys go out there and try to do something different. I go out there and do what got me to this point.”
The Spurs went 3-2 in Las Vegas, with Thomas averaging 12.4 points, but he cooled down after a hot start. Thomas was averaging 17 points in his first three games but had five and six points the last two games.
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward was a second-round draft pick in the NBA draft last month out of Ohio State.
The 2010 Indiana Mr. Basketball also averaged 5 rebounds and 1.2 assists and made 41 percent of his field goals, 38 percent on three-pointers and 89 percent on free throws. He started all five games for the Spurs, who were the No. 10 seed in the Vegas tournament and fell to Cleveland but rebounded to beat Portland on Friday in the consolation round.
“They tell us what we need to work on,” said Thomas, who ranks No. 3 in Indiana high school boys history with 3,018 points.
“But they know us, and they know our style of play. They just said go out there and be you and work hard. You can’t teach effort, and that’s what they want to see. (I see myself being) very versatile. I can score each way … and on different spots on the court, and that’s hard to guard, especially being a lefty.”
Thomas also used the five games to work on his defense.
“As we have been together, and we have practiced down there in San Antonio, and we got a little comfortable with each other,” Thomas said. “I knew the system and I knew the plays to get very comfortable with it.
“A lot of guys knock my defensive skills, but I take defense very seriously, and I work very hard at it.”