FORT WAYNE – Deshaun Thomas professional basketball career will begin in France.
The former Bishop Luers standout said Friday he had signed a one-year deal to play for JSF Nanterre in Paris.
I take it as a great opportunity, Thomas said in a phone interview Friday. For me and my family, it will be a great experience to go over there and sightsee a little bit and good for my son (17-month-old Deshaun Jr.) to learn a new language.
It is just an opportunity to keep getting better and develop and keep working on my craft and get into the (NBA) next year.
The 6-foot-7 forward would play in the French Pro A League and the Euroleague and begin playing in November.
Thomas also had an offer to play for a Spanish professional team in Madrid.
Thomas was a second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs, No. 58 overall. The Spurs will retain Thomas rights.
He led the Big Ten in scoring with 19 points per game as a junior for Ohio State before turning professional.
I just need to work on the things I can control, he said. I am going to work on the things that can help me in the long run and have a long career in the NBA and will make me successful and be on the Spurs roster.
Thomas always knew when he left the Buckeyes with eligibility remaining there were risks in making an NBA roster, especially one as deep as the 2012-13 NBA runners-up.
When I got drafted, it was a possibility to go overseas for a year, and the other opportunity was to try to make the roster, he said. I took a chance. I knew it was a great organization. Guys over there played over there one or two years, and now they are in the NBA playing, and they have a history so I took a chance.
I worked my butt off in the summer league and still wanted to make that roster. We knew the Spurs roster was so limited, and they only have 15 spots. They like to hold that 15th spot for future possibilities during the NBA season. That was one of my options to play overseas, and I had to take it to develop and come back to the NBA and go on from there.
He played for the Spurs summer team and averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds.
That was a great experience, Thomas said of the summer rookie league. I didnt know I could play like that and perform like that. It felt comfortable out there.