Alford and his coaches are working Thompson out at the three position this offseason in addition to polishing his skills at the four, which he played as a freshman.
With Pierre Pierce's departure, Thompson has been given an opportunity to get more minutes at the three if Iowa chooses to go big. The 6-foot-8 Ames native certainly could create some mismatches.
Thompson looked in excellent shape during the opening night of action at the PTL Wednesday night after a rigorous offseason training program. He really could play a big role on the Hawkeyes' success this season.
Hawkeye Nation caught up with Thompson after his PTL game on Wednesday to get catch up with what has been happening with him and to look back at last season:
Can you catch us up on what you've been doing since the end of the season?
They gave us about three weeks off to start the summer. I just went back home to Ames to spend some time with my family and just hang out with my friends back home and just relax a little bit before starting to work hard again. We've been back about a week now.
How did individual workouts go for you? What did you focus on?
I used to work out with a lot of the post players last year. They had me back and forth this time with some guards and doing some other different drills. It was getting me introduced to the cutting and playing a little bit on the wing.
Where do you see yourself fitting in down the road maybe this year and beyond/ Are you a three? Are you a four? Do you want to be able to play both?
Yeah, I want to get to the point where I can play both; you know, be affective at both positions. I want to be able to use it as a weapon to be able to play inside and outside. That's my game.
What work do you need to focus on to improve your play at both positions?
At the power forward, to keep getting stronger down low and keep working on my footwork around the basket and finishing around bigger players and fighting down low. On the perimeter, I need to keep working on my shooting and learning the offense on the outside and ball handling.
In looking at you guys, there's been quite a change physically since last season. You guys look like lean, mean fighting machines. What's the deal?
They're trying to pay more attention to nutrition. They gave us something to look at where we can pick out what we want to eat and what's good for us. We don't really know too much. It's good to get some guidelines to go by.
How has your body changed?
I've just been trying to lift harder and eat more and just better fruits. A lot of times when you're in a hurry, you get fast food and stuff. I try to stay away from that and try to eat some healthy food that will do good for my body.
How does your role change this year?
I don't know. We'll see. We've got everybody back. Hopefully they say that I can play some three, play some four. I'll just come in and work on my game. We'll see what happens. We've got guys coming in and guys coming back.
Looking back, what was the biggest adjustment for you last season?
Just the level of play; just overall Big Ten basketball. It's physical. it's different. When you're a freshman it just takes some time to get used to playing.
How much more comfortable to you feel now having gone through it?
I'm excited because at the end of the year I finally started feeling like I was starting to get a feel for it. I knew where I was at and what I need to do now to have a bigger impact next year.