Thompson Excited To Sign Pro Deal

Heralded as one of the best players in Northwestern basketball history, it seems that the career of Michael "Juice" Thompson is not done yet. Yesterday, Thompson signed a contract to play with the Fraport Skyliners based in Frankfurt, Germany.

Since the season ended, Thompson has been keeping busy with workouts, waiting for the chance to find a new team to showcase his talents.

"I've been working out two or three times a day, preparing for when I did get the opportunity," Thompson said.

The process of joining the team has been short. Thompson officially heard from his agent on Wednesday of the agreement with his team. As of Thursday afternoon, he was headed to the airport.

"My agent was in contact with me, he said this would be a good fit for me," Thompson said. "The coach has seen my game tape and was really interested. I heard something on Tuesday that they had interest, and my agent finalized things yesterday."

Before heading to Frankfurt, Thompson will fly to Treviso, Italy for team training camp, or what Thompson called "a 21-day tryout." Thompson said he felt confident in his chances of making the team's roster.

"Right now, they've been playing together for two weeks," Thompson said. "I'm on a 21-day tryout, but I have a really good chance to make it."

Once in Germany, Thompson said he will have all the amenities that come with signing a professional contract.

"I'll have own apartment, own car, all expenses will be paid for and everything. It's just a matter of me performing the way that I can," he said.

Thompson's confidence in his playing ability is not without reason. In his four-year career with the Wildcats, Thompson put up historic numbers. He is at the top of the all time list for NU in assists, minutes and games played, and games started; he is second in three-point field goals, third in points, and fifth in steals.

Beyond numbers, Thompson said he thinks the team's style will make it a good fit.

"It's an up-tempo team, but they can slow it down and run some half court sets," he said. "I want to get started off on the right foot and play in a good league with some solid players."

Thompson played in Italy during Northwestern team trips abroad, and said he is familiar enough with the style of play that the adjustment should come naturally. Adjusting to the style alongside Thompson will be former Wisconsin Badger John Leuer, who signed a one-year contract with the team in August.

"It should be a lot of fun, playing against him. I know he's a great player," Thompson said. "I have had a chance to get on court with him, I know what he's good at and he knows what I'm good at. Off court he's a good guy."

Leuer was drafted in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks, and signed his contract in light of the current NBA lockout. For Thompson, however, this is the first experience of signing with a professional club. To him, this next step is the culmination of many years of hard work.

"It feels great, this is what you dream of," he said. "It's not the NBA, but the next best thing to NBA. I'll be playing professional, playing against great talent, it's just a dream come true and I'm excited for it."

For the record, "Juice" translated into German is "Saft."

Purple Wildcats Top Stories