At the age of 25, Ryan Thompson has seen all that the basketball world has to offer. After four outstanding years at Rider (where he became the first person in the programmes history to finish top 10 in points, assists and rebounds), he’s gone on to spend time in the NBA Summer League, NBA Pre-Season, D-League and he is now balling it up in Europe.
In his first year overseas, Thompson showed off his new and improved game whilst playing for Centrale del Latte Brescia in Italy as he averaged a shared team high of 14 points per game, shooting an impressive 56/30/79. While Ryan may have been in the shadow of his older brother Jason Thompson for part of his basketball career, he is ready to step out and make a name for himself.
In 2010, you lead the Portsmouth Invitational in scoring with 24 points per game, including one game in which you went off for a tournament-high, 37 points. Did you think you had done enough to prove to NBA GM’s that you deserved to be drafted?
I actually thought I had a high chance at getting drafted with doing well at Portmouth and doing well at a whole bunch of Pre-Draft workouts but everything happens for a reason.
What have been the biggest changes in your game since you left Rider in 2010?
Improved a lot on my consistent shooting and working a lot with my midrange game.
Over the last three years, you’ve spent time in the D-League, Italy and now Belgium. How have those experiences been and which one have you enjoyed the most?
Well, I have learned a lot and just with getting older, I’m learning and adding a lot to my game. I enjoy playing overseas, but I always would love the chance to get to NBA and hopefully it happens for me.
What swayed your decision to join Generali Okapi Aalstar?
Great club, a great coaching staff and a respected Belgium league.
You’ve got off to a great start this season with your new team (19 points per game, shooting 60/37/75). Do you feel as though it is all starting to come together for you?
Yeah I mean I feel comfortable with my game right now and I enjoy playing with my team and our coach is great. It’s early in the season right now but I mean hopefully it’s all starting to come together.
Last year Christopher Copeland played on the same team in Belgium and stood out with 21 points per game. He is now playing with the New York Knicks. Are you hoping to follow in his footsteps?
I wouldn’t mind that at all. We are both two different positions so it’s a different situation but I am going to keep trying for the NBA just like he is/was.
What kind of influence has your brother (Jason Thompson) had on you?
Just to keep working hard and that everything will fall into place. And to also control only what you can. He is an extremely hard worker, so in the summers we push eachother a lot.
Who’s the best player you’ve ever played against?
LeBron James or Paul Pierce.
What’s your favourite thing about Belgium?
Being able to communicate with my teammates and fans because everyone here understands/speaks English and I like that a lot.
What’s your favourite song right now?
Can’t actually say I have a favorite right now, but favorite artist would have to be Fabolous.
Do you have anything you want to say to your fans and our readers on Crabdribbles?
Keep following my career and hopefully you will see me in either the EuroLeague or NBA in the future.