Sam Thompson played a vital role during the 2012-2013 season, and Buckeye Nation can expect even more from the Chicago native as Thad Matta and the Buckeyes look to make another deep tournament run in the 2013-2014 season. Now entering his third season in Columbus, the sky is the limit (literally) for the high-flying Forward.
Previous Season Stats: 7.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.0 ASG, 0.8 BPG, 0.7 SPG, 25.1 MPG, 49.8 FG%
A Look Back:
In his sophomore campaign, Thompson was given his opportunity to shine in Columbus. Though his scoring was spotty, only scoring in double-digits 10 times last season, Thompson really stepped up under the bright lights of March Madness. In the Ohio State's opening game against Iona, Thompson torched the Gaels for 20 points and 10 rebounds, earning his first double-double of his young yet bright career.
Thompson started all 37 games for the Scarlet and Gray and was second on the team in blocks (31). In the Buckeyes four NCAA games, Thompson tallied 10.5 points and led the team in rebounding with 5.8 a game in the big dance. Lastly, who could forget his game against Nebraska when he monopolized SportCenter's Top 10 with his ball-deflating block and rim-snapping windmill dunk?
Outlook For 2013-14:
With four of the five starters from last year's squad returning, you can expect the same sort of numbers from Thompson. There's no question that Deshaun Thomas took a lot of shots last year, and there's no doubt some of those looks are going to go Thompson's way. The kid is a hustler on the floor, and he's going to get his. He looked somewhat hesitant last season on the offensive end, but now that he's an older, experienced leader on the team, you can only expect more.
At 6-7, 200 pounds, Thompson is a swingman Forward that can extend the floor for Ohio State. When Thompson gets in a rhythm, he's exciting to watch. Whether it's shooting a jumper or posterizing some poor, unfortunate big man, Thompson's offensive presence could be the key for the Buckeyes in Thomas' absence. The key to his playing time and production won't be his high-flying GIFs or points per game. Rather, you can bet it will be directly related to his effort on the defensive end. Last season his hustle kept him on the floor over LaQuinton Ross, so it'll be interesting to see how Coach Matta spreads out the minutes this year.
Best Case Scenario:
Thompson picks up the Deshaun Thomas' leftovers and becomes more of an offensive threat. You can never play too much defense these days in college basketball, so expect an increase in blocks and rebounds from Thompson as well. We all know Aaron Craft loves to get his teammates involved, and you can only imagine the benefits Thompson will receive from the biggest swoon in college athletics. Oh, and not to mention the highlights on highlights on highlights Slam Thompson will supply SportCenter's Top 10.
Because, duh, here's your requisite Sam Thompson aerial assault:
Worst Case Scenario:
I don't see Thompson's numbers getting lower than they were last year. At worst, Thompson could have an average scoring year like last season, with the low-percentage possibility of him not making any improvements in his jump shot or defensive pressure.