Mr. Basketball Deshaun Thomas felt at ease in familiar surroundings from the start, and it immediately paid dividends for the Indiana All-Stars on Monday.
In his final game at Bishop Luers, the 6-foot-7 Thomas scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as Indiana cruised past a talented Junior All-Stars team 125-89.
It is home court, Thomas said. Every time I step in this gym, I feel comfortable. I got it in early and got some big shots.
It feels great being my last home game in Fort Wayne. I give thanks to everybody who came out and gave me support. Now it is time to get ready for Kentucky (this weekend).
Thomas hit 9 of 15 from the field, including 2 of 3 on three-pointers, and made 5 of 7 from the free-throw line. He added three assists and two blocks in 21 minutes.
We tried to play at (power forward) and let him get comfortable where he is good (inside) and let him move out from there, Indiana coach Ron Hecklinski said of Thomas. He got himself into a rhythm inside a little bit and started to get the feel and moved outside and made some (jumpers).
The game was never in much doubt, with Indiana gaining an early 20-point advantage and moving the margin to 30 points in the second half.
They have nationally ranked guys, and I thought it would be more of a challenge, but we came out here, and we are the older group, and we can’t let the little juniors get us, Thomas said. I thought it would be more of a game, but I guess not because we came out and played hard.
Thomas, who was 29-5 at Luers’ gym during his four-year career, was taken out with 3:36 left to a good ovation from the crowd. After the game, he embraced family and friends and signed a few autographs.
Indiana will play the juniors again Wednesday in Rushville in its final preparation before playing the Kentucky All-Stars on Friday in Louisville and Saturday in Indianapolis.
That’s as talented a junior team as we have had in a long time, said Hecklinski, the coach at Anderson. Defensively it was important to see us get some stops and rebound a little bit, and then put the ball into the hands of some guys who can score.
Terone Johnson from Class 4A state champion Indianapolis North Central had 19 points for Indiana, East Chicago Central’s Michael Harris 15, Bloomington South’s Erik Fromm and Winchester’s Neal Beshears 12 each, Bowman’s Tyrae Robinson 11 and New Albany’s Donnie Hale 10. Blackhawk Christian’s Russell Byrd was on the Indiana bench on crutches with a broken foot.
Gary Wallace’s Branden Dawson led the juniors with 18 points, while Warsaw’s Nic Moore had seven, Elmhurst’s Antonio Wilson four and Carroll’s Tyler Ault was held scoreless.