Ryan Thompson of Rider came into this season with high expectations for himself and for his team. After his junior year, he had a list of awards to his name: First Team All-MET, First Team All-MAAC, NABC First Team All-District 1, Mid-Major All-American by collegeinsider.com, MAAC All-Tournament team, and was the Preseason Player of the Year in the MAAC. People were curious what the 6-6 wing would do for an encore. He started his senior season off with a bang.
"The highlight of my college career was beating Mississippi State this year in our opener," Thompson told us via an e-mail interview. In that game, Ryan played 39 minutes and had 16 points including 2 key three pointers in the second half when Mississippi State was trying to make a run. Despite some inconsistency this season, Thompson didn’t disappoint the Rider fans, averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists as a senior and being named again to the All-MAAC First Team. Now that his career at Rider has finished, he has his eye on the NBA.
Thompson brings a lot to the table as a draft prospect. There has been a lot of hard work that has gone into his game, including taking part in the LeBron James and Paul Pierce skills academies where he went up against some great players.
"It was a great experience having the chance to go up against the top guys, I got to play against Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Christopher, Manny Harris, and a bunch of other great players," he said of his time at the academies. Going into his junior year, the Broncs had him play more point guard, but against certain lineups, he would still be playing off the ball. Thompson believes he can do either at the next level and has heard teams feel he can too.
"The feedback I have been getting is that I would have to play the point or a combo guard," he said. "I think I would be able to play either of those positions."
Knowing that he’ll have to play both guard positions at the next level Ryan is focused on getting better. He says he is currently working out with a trainer in New York, and his college coach at school. While training, he’ll no doubt work on all his fundamentals, but when asked what he brought to the table for an NBA team he mentioned things that can’t be taught, like length and athleticism.
"I am a tall guard that can play the point and shoot the ball well," he said. He compares his game to Courtney Lee, which is a great comparison. Both have good size and play the combo guard and came from lesser known schools.
Ryan is still going through the agent selection process and says he wants an agent that "can help [him] out to get where [he] wants to be and have a great relationship with." One advantage he has in selecting an agent, and the entire pre-draft process, is that his older brother Jason Thompson of the Sacramento Kings went through it just two years ago.
"He has given me a lot of insight and advice but [told me] mainly to not try and do too much and just play my game and show everyone what I can do to help their team," he said. Ryan will have a great opportunity to put his game on display in front of NBA and international decision makers at Portsmouth which is something he seemed excited for. If Ryan can impress at workouts and Portsmouth he may hear his name called, which is really all he wants. "I just hope that everything works out and I get drafted and have my dream come true."
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