One almost has to be, in order to compete at the highest levels of the AAU basketball scene, and the endless cycle of practices, tournaments and camps the summer season brings.
But two days after he returned from last weekend's National Basketball
Player's Association Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., the 6-foot-7
wing was still feeling the effects. Of course, if the reports that
filtered out throughout the four-day event were any indication, he was
hardly alone in needing a few days to recover.
"There were optional workouts at 6:45 a.m.," Sam Thompson explained.
"So I would do that, stations, team practices and games. It was a lot
of basketball. It was really taxing on your legs and your whole body,
so I definitely felt it."
However, to his mind the camp proved to be more than worth the effort.
Not only did Thompson and the other attendees get a chance to work with
current and former NBA players to hone their basketball skills, but
they received classroom instruction and mentorship from them as well –
seeking to improve them on and off the court.
Of course, when one gathers 100 of the most talented high school
basketball prospects in the country under one roof, the on-the-court
competition is going to be intense, and the 2010 iteration of the NBPA
Top 100 Camp didn't disappoint.
One of the highlights of the event is the team competition, wherein
attendees are divided into teams of 10 to square off in against each
other in a star-studded tournament. Thompson's team included the likes
of himself, Jabari Parker, DeAndre Daniels, Trevor Lacy, Chris Jones
and Kaleb Tarczewski.
And though they weren't the most talented squad, he said, they used
quality teamwork to claim the camp championship nonetheless.
"There were teams that actually, I think, were more talented than us,"
Thompson said. "There were teams that were far more talented than us.
But we had a great 'team' team. We were playing like we were with our
club teams. We meshed pretty well."
But what did Thompson think of his own performance? After spending a
great deal of the summer at point guard with his AAU team, Mac Irvin
Fire, the ultra-athletic perimeter player was back at his natural
position of small forward last weekend.
Though he didn't score as well as he might have liked, he felt his time
running the show helped improve his court vision immensely, allowing
him to set up opponents for scores in the half court and in transition.
"I feel like I played pretty well," Thompson said. "I got better each
day I think, and that's pretty important, but there were some things I
could have done a lot better. I didn't score as well, but I was playing
good defense, making the right pass and playing within the team set."
Next up, Thompson plans to attend the exclusive LeBron James and Kevin Durant skills academies in the weeks ahead, in addition to continuing
his play with the Fire. After that, it will be time to focus on his
Maintaining a list of five schools – Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Ohio State and Oregon State – he plans to sign a National Letter of Intent
during November's early signing period.
"I want to get this all over and done with by the time the high school
season starts," Thompson said.
Thompson Catching His Breath
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