From Ames with Effort

Iowa freshman Alex Thompson only knows one speed at which to play basketball - Full. And court awareness and athletic ability enhance that desire. Thompson displayed his game in a matchup with fellow incoming Hawkeye Doug Thomas Thursday night in PTL action. And Thompson clearly outplayed Thomas. caught up with Thompson to get his thoughts on the encounter, his reasons for picking Iowa, playing against Dwight Howard and much more in this premium story.

NORTH LIBERTY _ Early in the second half of Alex Thompson's PTL game here Tuesday, the Iowa freshman-to-be raced in from behind to break up a dunk attempt by an opponent.

Some of the other players rode Thompson for his effort. After all, it was the PTL. The fans were in the to see the rim shake.

Thompson looked across the foul lane with a straight face and said "What do you want me to do, let him go?"

That play really tells you much of what you need to know about Thompson. He will give maximum effort whether it's a Big Ten game or he's running shirts and skins on the blacktop.

"That's the only way that I know how to play," the Ames High product said. "I don't know how to play any different than that hard.

"That's what you've got to do to win. That's what it takes, just all-out effort. You've got to do the little things. That's what I try to bring every time. You can't always control your shooting. You can control how hard you play and how hard you work."

Thompson might best be described as a cross between Ryan Bowen and Greg Brunner. He possesses an encouraging combination of athleticism and basketball smarts. He's a guy that always seems to be around the action:

What was it like going up against Doug (Thomas)?

Yeah. He's tough to bang with down low; real aggressive; rebounds real well. You've just got to try to contain him as much as you can.

Is this the first time that you've banged with him?

Yeah. This is the first time that I've seen Doug play. I've heard a lot about him. He's a great player.

How do you feel that you've done this summer?

First of all, I went to the Goal Setters' basketball weekend. That was a lot of fun just to get to play with the high school guys one more time. Then, we went with our AAU team and won the 19-and-under nationals. That was a big accomplishment for our team.

What are you working on this summer?

I just got into their weight program this week. I'm starting to learn how to lift in different ways; stuff I haven't done before; and just try to work on my overall game; just keep getting more aggressive and work on my jumper and may ball handling and ball skills: passing, all that stuff; rebounding; pretty much everything.

What do you weigh now?

About 210.

What do you want to play at?

Probably about 220, 225 before the season starts, hopefully.

How tall are you?

About 6-9.

What do you think that you can bring to the team this year?

I'm just going to be ready to play. I'm just going to get excited and play hard. Ijust want to bring energy to the team and help any way that I can.

Where do you see yourself sitting in as far as position wise?

I was hoping to play some three and some four. But wherever they want is where I'll work to play at. But I want to be able to play both. To be able to play both positions, I'll be able to get more playing time.

How's your health; your ankle?

Good. I finally got off my brace. I've been working on it a lot trying to get it stronger.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

I'm working out with (Iowa Basketball strength and conditioning coach Bill) Maxwell. I usually go to the gym and shoot and work on some skills; then playing in Prime Time. I assume once the guys get back from Coach Alford's camp in Indiana, we'll start playing more often on the weekends and stuff.

Do you know the date of the Iowa State game?

Nah. I don't.

Could you go through your thought pattern of picking Iowa?

I just visited a lot of schools. I basically narrowed it down to Wisconsin and Iowa. Being from Iowa, I kind of thought I would be the kid playing at Iowa with other Iowa players or be the kid that goes to Wisconsin. I just like how Iowa had a lot of guys I knew like Greg (Brunner) and (Jeff) Horner.

Did you grow up an Iowa fan?

Not really. Coming from Ames, not really.

Did people give you a hard time when you picked Iowa?

Not really. They just kind of respected my decision. I'm the one that's going to school.

How much has playing AAU ball the last few years helped in your development as a player?

It's helped a lot because in high school ball I didn't get to work on my inside game that much. It was a different style. With my AAU team, I learned how to do a lot of little things inside. And AAU ball just keeps you playing all summer, and that's what you need to do to get better.

Who's the best high school guys you've played against?

Probably Dwight Howard or Al Jefferson. They're big dudes.

How did you do against them?

I did alright. I didn't play that much against them like one-on-one. We just played against their team. They're just real, real athletic.

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