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The Next LeBron?

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There's been a nice crop of elite basketball talent for us locals to watch in recent years. Zach Randolph and Jared Jeffries gave way to Sean May, who gave way to Josh McRoberts, who gave way to Greg Oden and Mike Conley (don't sleep on Conley people, the kid's a prodigious, TRUE point guard), who gave way to this year's phenom, Eric Gordon.

The next big time talent is apparently coming out of Fort Wayne and his name is DeShaun Thomas. I say apparently because I haven't seen him play, yet. I began hearing this summer about how this kid was a man-child even before arriving on the high school scene. Now Jeff Rabjohns has a piece on Thomas as a preview for the state tournament. As a 6-7, 210 pound FRESHMAN, Thomas is averaging 28 points and 13 rebounds. Naturally, those numbers evoke comparisons to LeBron James. DeShaun's coach tries to downplay the comparison, but can't avoid it himself.

"We have to be careful when we throw out 'LeBron James'; he's one of the great skilled athletes, but that has been said," said Luers coach James Blackmon, who worked with James at the same age at a basketball camp. "As far as what (Thomas has) accomplished at this young age and the type of ball he's playing, you have to put him in that category.

"He's showing the same signs as far as being able to break the defense down with his ball-handling skills, his skills on the glass. And he's a great athlete. I'm almost afraid to make that comment, but he's doing the same type of things LeBron was doing at that age."

My first thought is, WOW! Actually, that's my second thought. My first thought is, um, do we have a birth certificate for young DeShaun? Are we sure he wasn't recently laid off at the Fort Wayne GM plant? I'm kidding (well, about the GM plant thing). After hearing all of the old man jokes about Greg Oden, I can see how this will play out if the kid is already so big and skilled. Hopefully his team makes a run so I get a chance to see him play in the tournament. Seeing is believing, so I'll let you know what I see.