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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko (https://twitter.com/kj_franko) or email kfranko@trentonian.com.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jon Thompson's move to two-guard provides lift

LAWRENCEVILLE – Jon Thompson had all summer to think about how his role would change for the Rider men’s basketball team.

Thompson, a junior from Orlando, would be asked to take over at point guard and fill the void vacated by the graduated Justin Robinson.

But just like his team, Thompson had a rocky start to the season. He was suspended for the first two games because of an NCAA violation that also cost him the MAAC Tournament last year.

Once he did get on the court, the Broncs were already 0-2, and by the time Thompson or any of his teammates knew what hit them, Rider was off to its worst start in 68 years.
Thompson had a tough time adjusting to all the responsibilities put on the point guard’s shoulders.

“It was almost like he had too much responsibility,” said coach Tommy Dempsey. “You’re not a natural point guard and you’re trying to get everybody organized. You’re trying to get the right guys shots. You’re trying to figure out how to get those guys shots while picking your own spots.”

So Dempsey made a decision to start freshman Eddie Mitchell at the point and move Thompson off the ball to the two-guard.

Thus far, it has worked well.

Thompson has scored in double figures in his last four games, including a career-high 17 in an overtime loss to Princeton.

“I’m way more comfortable off the ball than on,” Thompson said. “Playing with the ball is something that I’m learning as I go this year.”

Thompson said he’s simply taking what the defense gives him.

Dempsey thinks he’s in a more natural position.

“He missed the first two games and then was thrown into a position where Novar (Gadson) was injured and couldn’t do the things he was supposed to do as a senior,” Dempsey said. “Jon’s trying to figure out, “where do I best fit in?’”

The change has also allowed Thompson to be more of a force defensively. Dempsey has started to utilize a half-court trap that falls back into a matchup zone to help his defensively-challenged team.

Rider has allowed less than 80 points in each of its last two games, both of which went to overtime.

“It slows them up,” Thompson said about changing the defensive look. “It gives them a short shot clock and that helps us defensively.”

The Broncs picked up their second win by beating UMBC in overtime last Saturday and can try to win two in a row for the first time this season Thursday night when they face Monmouth (2-9).

If Rider is going to put a win streak together it is going to have to come away from Alumni Gymnasium. The Broncs are in the midst of playing eight of the next nine games on the road.

They went 11-6 in road games last year but are 1-4 this season.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle,

Thanks for bringing back the blog.

A few Rider items maybe you have updates.

1. Terry Turner still in the mix for a recruit. I know he reopened his recruitment. Did the other commits actual signed. (Alford, Valentine, Stewart)

2. How has Gadson and Jones handle moving to the bench?

3. What is the tought about the abilities of Oliver. Is he just caught in too many 2 guards or are they thinking he cannot play at this level.

December 21, 2011 at 4:51 PM 

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