Photo Credit - IU Athletics

Indiana Basketball 2018-19 Player Previews: Race Thompson

The 2018-19 Indiana University men’s basketball season is right around the corner.  To help get you ready, The Daily Hoosier is profiling every player on the 2018-19 IU roster.  You can see all of our 2018-19 player profiles in one place here.  If you are looking for the 2018-19 IU basketball schedule, you can find that here.


While Damezi Anderson was Archie Miller’s first in-state commit, and Jerome Hunter was his first class of 2018 commit, Race Thompson was just first.

He only beat Anderson and Hunter by a matter of days when it came to committing to Indiana, but he beat them to campus by a full year.

Thompson graduated from high school in August, 2017 from Armstrong High School and decided to chart a unique course.  Originally part of the class of 2018 when he committed, Thompson came on board with an eye towards reclassifying to the class of 2017 and redshirting — and he ultimately did just that.  Soon after graduating high school he was enrolled in classes in Bloomington.

Because of his unique path, some may have lost sight of Race Thompson, the recruit.  Rated 71st overall in the country, he was a significant win for Miller and the IU coaching staff.  In his final year of high school he averaged 19.6 points and 8.9 rebounds

For AAU Thompson played for D1 Minnesota, the same program that class of 2019 IU target Matthew Hurt was a member of.

A fun fact that you might not be aware of is that Thompson’s father is Darrell Thompson, the former Minnesota and NFL running back.  Darrell left Minnesota as the school’s all-time leading rusher before being drafted with the 19th selection by the Green Bay Packers in the 1990 NFL Draft.  His mother and three siblings were/are all also division one college athletes, including True Thompson, who plays football for Minnesota.

ESSENTIALS

Race Thompson
Credit – IU Athletics
  • Height:  6-foot-8
  • Weight:  228
  • Position:  Forward
  • Class:  Redshirt Freshman
  • Hometown:  Plymouth, MN
  • High School:  Armstrong

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Archie Miller on Thompson —

“He’s not afraid to mix it up. He proved that last year in practice every day. He’ll get in there and rebound. He’ll get in there and bang. And he’s got a really good IQ in terms of being able to think the game where he can pass it. He can move it. He’s not an unskilled player in terms of not being able to play facing or with his back to the basket.

He’s got to shoot the ball, especially from the three-point line at certain times here in his career where that’s going to be his biggest gift is being able to stretch the floor because he’s not really above the rim, so to speak, around the basket.

As the season starts to evolve, hopefully offensively, his niche can start to be more of a perimeter face-up guy than he is more of a back-to-the-basket guy.”

VIDEO

We could show you a well over a year old video of Race playing basketball, but would it really matter at this point? He’s a changed man, as you can see by the below before and after pictures.

Okay, if you insist on video, you can watch him at Hoosier Hysteria here.  He had some impressive moments in this year’s scrimmage setting.

Image result for "race thompson"

WHAT 2018-19 SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE

We are truly fascinated with the battles for playing time that are going on right now.  Probably best described as a stretch-four, Thompson is competing for playing time with a lot of folks including Juwan Morgan, Jake Forrester, Evan Fitzner, Justin Smith, Damezi Anderson, Jerome Hunter and to a lesser extent De’Ron Davis and Clifton Moore.

That is a lot of long talented bigs fighting to see the floor.  Can Thompson carve out a meaningful role?

There are two reasons why we think he can.  The first thing that Miller said about him is that he isn’t afraid to mix it up.  That’s the key to Miller’s heart, and the keys to the floor.  While it doesn’t sound like he is a high-flyer like Smith, a scrappy, first-to-the-floor player with a niche can contribute.

Second, we really think this team is going to be about spreading the floor and keeping the lane open for Morgan, Romeo Langford and others.  If Thompson continues to develop into the perimeter shooter that Miller envisions, he can be a valuable weapon in that regard.

While he’s pretty clearly behind Morgan and Smith in the rotation, he seems like a good choice to be the first one off the bench to give either of them a rest.  If he rebounds and knocks down three-pointers, that’s a role he can hang onto all year while logging decent minutes and setting himself up for a bright future in Bloomington.


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