He wanted to defend himself, to offer up some sort of explanation or at the very least a rationalization, but with his Ohio State teammates cracking up beside him on the dais, all Deshaun Thomas could do was smile, hang his head and shrug his shoulders.
With his trademark dimples deepening as his smile widened, the sophomore finally gave in to the question about his high school reputation as an unabashed scorer first, do-everything-else-second kind of player.
"What can I say?" Thomas said. "I love to score. I'm sorry. I love to score."
No one in Columbus is seeking his penitence, not right now anyway. In four NCAA tournament games, Thomas is averaging 21.8 points and leading the Buckeyes in scoring.
Which isn't exactly a surprise for a kid who managed to score 3,018 points at Bishop Luers, a high school more widely known for its football prowess in hoops-mad Indiana, and graduate as Indiana's Mr. Basketball as well as the state's third all-time leading scorer, one free throw behind Marion Pierce (3,019) and within range of Damon Bailey (3,134).
There is, however, a difference between scoring wildly and scoring smartly. This season, Thomas has found the fine line between the two.