Working Out with Lorenzo Thompson

Recently caught up with Blue Demons forward/center Lorenzo Thompson. The 6'8" junior from Chicago Crane High has been working hard all summer long and had a lot to talk about.

Between off-season workouts and summer school, Zo Thompson has been keeping himself busy. "Everything is going good," said Thompson. "I just finished (summer) class up about two weeks ago. Now I'm working out at UIC since I don't have a vehicle. I've been working out with (UIC's) Justin Bowen and a couple other guys."

"Tim Lang (the DePaul Strength and Conditioning Coach) gave us a workout plan to work on over the summer," recalled Thompson. "I've been running, shooting, lifting weights, and doing stuff like that."

That hard work on and off the court has already produced some results as Thompson has lost weight. "All in all about 30 pounds," beamed Thompson. "I've been working hard so this year when I come back, I'll be able to be a factor. I need to get up and down and get strong, because we're going to the Big East now. That's a big step for us."

Big Zo has even spent time with Michael Jordan's former trainer. "Tim Grover was working out with us a few times," Thompson remarked. "(Houston Rockets forward) Juwan Howard had a camp on campus. We were shooting and doing different drills."

Thompson credits new DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright for instilling the work ethic to improve during the off-season. "He always stresses defense and different other things that I have to focus on," Lorenzo explained. "He says I have to be tough-minded all the time."

Quite often you will see Zo Thompson with a smile on his face, cheering his fellow teammates on. He acts as the team's morale officer. "I've been like that my whole life," observed Thompson. "Everybody plays a role. I feel like even when I'm not in the game or when the game is not going good, I always try to get the other players up. I hope they do the same thing for me. If I'm down, I always look for somebody to pick me up."

Thompson has a good handle on the parts of his game that he needs to improve upon. "I know I can feel the ball better than most people at my height," Zo noted. "I need to work on down low moves and different moves down low. I know I can get it outside and make a move and go past a big guy. Since we're playing in the Big East, I want to bang with the big guys, so I want to learn different moves to maneuver like that."

Since Coach Wainwright is emphasizing defense, Thompson knows he needs to become better there too. "On the defensive side, I want to guard my man face up," said Thompson. "All the big men in the Big East are versatile. Not everybody is back to the basket. A good example of that is Charlie Villanueva. That's why I believe he went so high (in the 2005 NBA Draft). He's 6'10", he can dribble and he can do a lot of things. That's a big advantage over most big people."

If hard work during the summer months translates into better play come winter, the Blue Demons will have a greatly improved student-athlete in Lorenzo Thompson.

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