Thompson eager to start ISU career By: Eric Petersen 07/01/2007
Alex Thompson never knew how tough a year without pulling on a uniform could be.
Having your own page in the media guide and being able to practice and lift weights just isn't the same as hearing your name called on game night.
The former Ames High star can't wait to get back out on the floor for real after transferring from Iowa and sitting out last season per NCAA rules.
"When people decide to transfer they don't think much of the year off," Thompson said. "It was a hard year."
Thompson could not attend away games, but he was at all of ISU's games at Hilton Coliseum. In street clothes or a warm-up outfit, he sat in the front row of the student section Cyclone Alley.
The junior-to-be spent his season on the practice floor and in the second-floor weight room at the Lied Recreation Center. Rewards had to come with an eye toward the future.
"I tried to stay positive," Thompson said. "If you have the right outlook you can become a lot better basketball player."
By all accounts, he has. Thompson's added close to 20 pounds - he's now around 240 - to his 6-foot-10 frame since arriving on campus. The rest of his game has been sharpened as well.
"He's made the most of his redshirt year," assistant coach Jeff Rutter said. "He went the extra mile."
Thompson averaged 1.8 points and 2.2 rebounds a game in his two seasons at Iowa. He played in 66 of 67 possible games, most of which were non-descript.
Thompson's shining moment came when he had two assists, one rebound and late 3-point basket that beat Ohio State in the 2006 Big Ten Tournament championship. With that game now a footnote in his career, Thompson is eager for similar success playing for his hometown school.
"I'm excited to get out there and help this team win," Thompson said. "I looked at our schedule the other day. We have some big games early in the season that are going to be a challenge.
"I'm hoping I'm ready for whatever (ISU's coaches) ask me to do."
Once ISU's group of newcomers reported for workouts and summer school, Thompson felt like everything was right.
"It finally felt like I was part of the team," he said. "I'm real excited. I think we've got a lot of talent coming in. It's going to be fun to see how it all fits together."
Thompson's family and old high school friends have made returning to Ames an easy transition. He's finally got a major picked out - two actually, in political science and environmental studies - and has no regrets leaving Iowa City.
Rutter, Greg McDermott and Ron Smith all watched Thompson grow as a player while coaching at Northern Iowa.
He's always had the talent. Now Thompson has the drive.
"We all know how hungry he is to play this year," Rutter said. "We're expecting Alex to play a big role for us the next two years."
I'm excited too. When he was with the Hawks, I thought he looked like he had some talent, but just didn't quite have it all figured out yet. I'm sure the year under McDermott has probably done a lot for him.
All content owned by CycloneFanatic.com - All rights reserved 2005-09. By viewing this website you agree to the Terms of Service, Site Rules and Legal Disclaimer. The words, views, images and opinions expressed or provided by users do not reflect the opinions or views of CycloneFanatic.com or Iowa State University. The names, words, symbols, and graphics representing Iowa State University are trademarks and copyrights of the University protected by the trademark and copyright laws of the United States of America and other countries and are used on this web site under license from the University. Original site design, premise & construction by Jeremy Lind.