- John Gasaway, ESPN Insider
Ohio State is overreliant on just one player, Deshaun Thomas. You know it, I know it, and Thad Matta knows it. I'll wager that even an eager shooter like Thomas has had moments this season when he'd welcome some help.
Watching Thomas got me thinking about other players who might be laboring under the same circumstances, so I put together my short list of Division I's most overburdened players.
To merit inclusion on my list, it's not enough for one player to take a ton of shots. In 2010-11, Jimmer Fredette took a ton of shots for Brigham Young, and sure, the Cougars most certainly would have noticed if Fredette had been injured and lost for the season. But that's just another way of saying any team will notice losing its best player. In BYU's case that season, its best player was taking a ton of shots for a team that also had very effective second and third options on offense, not to mention a very good defense.
Conversely, when a team is overreliant on its best player, the coach is making a calculated decision (correctly or not) that this is the best way to cover up some deficiency in performance. On that basis, these are the current cases I see where a team is overreliant on one player.
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State Buckeyes
Let's get the obvious choice out of the way at the top, shall we? The arc charted by Thomas in his three seasons at OSU has been remarkable. Not only did the McDonald's All-American come off the bench as a freshman, he actually didn't come off the bench all that much, averaging just 14 minutes a game. Now look: Thomas is always on the floor, and he takes 32 percent of the offense's shots during those abundant minutes.
In his look at the nation's five most overburdened players, John Gasaway explains why Ohio State needs to get Deshaun Thomas some help on offense in order to contend for the Big Ten title.