The 2019-20 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 2019-20 IU roster. You can see all of our player profiles in one place here. If you are looking for the 2019-20 IU basketball schedule, you can find that here.
There is probably no greater unknown commodity on this year’s IU basketball team than Race Thompson.
You know the story of Thompson’s 2018-19 season by now — a seemingly never ending wave of injuries and ailments that completely derailed his redshirt freshman campaign.
From a groin injury as the season began, to a severe concussion that took him out for more than three months, to illness, Thompson could never get on track. The 6-foot-8 forward appeared in just nine games, with his longest stretch of availability from mid-February to mid-March.
Thompson reclassified into the class of 2017 and took a redshirt season when he arrived at IU. With his injury plagued year two, it has now been a couple years since he has played regularly for an extended period of time at any level.
Now the questions are whether Thompson can shake off the rust, stay healthy, and become a regular contributor throughout the 2019-20 campaign.
- Height: 6-foot-8
- Weight: 235
- Position: Forward
- Class: Redshirt Sophomore
- Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota
- High School: Armstrong
- Minutes per game: 7.0
- Points per game: .6
- Rebounds per game: 2.1
- Blocks per game: .33
- FG%: 40.0%
- 3FG%: 0.0% (0 for 3)
- FT%: 50%
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Archie Miller on Thompson —
“Race has been here for three years and I think these guys will tell you he can really help us.”
De’Ron Davis on Thompson —
“He’s a beast on the boards and he brings a lot of toughness to the low post area.”
Thompson on improving his perimeter shot —
“I definitely improved on offense, shooting the ball, just being stronger everywhere I am at. Basically just improving the all-around game, but shooting was a point that coach talked about a lot this summer.”
WHAT 2019-20 SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
Coming into to last year, Miller described Thompson as someone that is “not afraid to mix it up.”
In just his first game back after the concussion, Thompson showed us something when it would have been reasonable to expect nothing. Playing back in his home state, Thompson produced five rebounds and two blocks in just seven minutes of action while the rest of his team floundered against Minnesota.
Later he played critical minutes and held his ground on the defensive end against Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ in a double overtime win.
This IU team desperately needs more tough guys on the floor. Thompson might be particularly well suited to take on that role.
With a logjam in the post that includes Joey Brunk, Trayce Jackson-Davis and De’Ron Davis, there isn’t likely to be a lot of available minutes for another back-to-the-basket type of player in 2019-20.
Thompson said after Hoosier Hysteria that Miller has been emphasizing perimeter shooting with him throughout the summer, referring to his ability to knock down perimeter shots as “very important.”
If Thompson wants to crack the rotation as a regular, the stretch-four spot seems to be his ticket. He should also be particularly well suited to guard other big ten power forwards, whether they play inside or out.
If Thompson can also show or develop the ability to run the floor, score off the bounce with both hands, defend the perimeter and become a strong passer into the post, this could be his long awaited breakout season.
The other way for Thompson to stay on the floor is by becoming a dominant rebounder.
The data set is too limited to reach conclusions, but when Thompson was on the floor he was a rebounding force. His 12.1 rebounds per 40 minutes blew away Justin Smith and De’Ron Davis and were better than Juwan Morgan.
Because it has been so long since he played regularly, Thompson’s season is difficult to predict.
But if he could average five points and three or four rebounds in 15 minutes per game while becoming more of a perimeter threat on both ends, Thompson would seemingly be back on track for a productive final two years as an upperclassman.
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