There's been a back-and-forth concerning Thompson all year on in the comments section, so now is as good a time as any to analyze his career.
My take is as follows:
There's no doubt that his struggles are a major reason Rider is one loss away from the play-in round. What's more interesting, though, isn't that he played extremely poorly for the first half of the season. It's that he's been able to take a team that wouldn't have otherwise been worth watching and carried it as far as it's gotten.
In spite of the monster month of February he's had, there's no question his senior year will go down as a disappointment. He was the easy choice for preseason Player of the Year, and isn't even assured a first-team all-MAAC spot. There's also no questioning the correlation between his level of play and Rider's.
But in looking at Thompson's career, what he hasn't done is much less interesting than what he has done.
With that in mind, consider this: Only three players in school history have more points than Thompson: Darrick Suber, Jerry Johnson and Jason Thompson.
Suber's place in Rider history is well solidified, and as proof, a banner in his honor hangs on the wall at the Zoo. But his numbers need to be viewed in perspective because he played in the NEC -- a far less competitive conference than the MAAC.
Johnson, a scoring machine, is unquestionably on a short list of the greatest players in school history, and it's worth noting that the team fell apart after he graduated following the 2004-05 season. But because of his versatility, Thompson has arguably been a better and more complete player.
That means an argument can be made that Thompson trails only his brother on a list of the best players in Rider history.
Has he come up small in some big spots this year? Yes. Could Rider have lived up to its expectations if he had been better in December and January? Quite likely.
But here's a question of equal or greater importance -- one that should always be remembered when talking about his legacy:
Where would Rider have been over the last two years without him?
Were I a Rider player, I wouldn't have been smiling Friday when Myers checked into the game. In fact, were I Myers, I most certainly wouldn't have been smiling, given the circumstances. From a player's standpoint, there shouldn't be anything funny about getting bludgeoned on your home court in a conference game. But as I wrote in today's story, the kid has been buried on the depth chart for the past two years and hung in there, by all accounts being a good teammate. That counts for something, and that's the primary reason he'll get such a big hand when he's introduced today.
I went 4-1 in my Friday picks (Niagara failing to cover at Manhattan gave me the loss), rallying to bring my season record to 7-6-1. The feature will return for the first Friday of MAAC play next year.
A programming note for those who may be new to the blog or those who simply could use a reminder: The blog will have full-throttle, wall-to-wall coverage of the men's and women's tournaments beginning bright and early Thursday morning in Albany.
In addition to continuing the live chat feature that we started during last year's tournament and have continued during the regular season, the goal will be to have postgame video on every game in the tournament, from the women's play-in round Thursday to the men's title game Monday night.
Hope you'll tune and and tell a friend.