Devin Thomas' performance during his freshman campaign was a bright spot in a season that was otherwise quite dim. While the Demon Deacons floundered, Thomas exceeded expectations and earned himself a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team. He led all freshmen in the conference in both rebounding and blocks, while finishing sixth overall in both categories.
He bumped up his scoring average by two points during his sophomore season along with his field goal percentage, but his rebounding remained the same despite a small uptick in minutes played. Coach Danny Manning has already said that he would like to see Thomas average a double-double this season, and that certainly seems like a fair expectation. With Tyler Cavanaugh and Adala Moto gone, there isn't a familiar face left on the roster to steal playing time from Thomas.
The 6-foot-9, 255 pound forward will need to mature as a leader as well. Despite being juniors, Thomas, along with guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, are arguably the team's most experienced players. Thomas has shown flashes of brilliance, but he hasn't quite developed into the post player many thought he would be after his freshman season. A lack of continuity on the coaching staff certainly won't help, but having a successful big man like Manning at the helm could serve him well.
I think highly of Thomas and would be really pleased if he could put together averages of 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. Also, he really needs to get his blocks per game up to at least his freshman level. He averaged 1.4 a contest in 2012-13, but collected just 29 all of last season. He'll need to be a fairly dominating post player on both sides of the floor.
Rivals pegged Thomas as a three-star recruit coming out of Central Dauphin High School in Pennsylvania. He chose Wake Forest over a plethora of other schools that included Boston College, Marquette, Temple, VCU and Virginia Tech.