Garrett Coleman, Assistant sports editor
Becoming a professional athlete is not the easiest task to complete. It takes a lot of dedication, practice and heart to make it in the leagues where the highest level of athleticism is displayed. For former UVU men’s basketball standout Nick Thompson, the road to play pro ball is paved with confidence.
Thompson, a transfer from Oklahoma, made the most of his time as a Wolverine. Night after night he proved that he was talented enough to play and be successful at the collegiate level. Thompson was one of two players who started all 32 games for UVU and led the team in assists with 133—4.2 per game. He became the first player in the program’s NCAA Division I history to record a triple-double, with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a game against Austin Peay.
Nick Thompson’s hard work during his senior year helped him get noticed by professional scouts. Thompson, who grew up in Clearfield, Utah, got a chance to participate in a pre-NBA draft workout with the Utah Jazz; a team he has been a fan of since childhood. The opportunity is not one that many college basketball players receive, especially out of a lesser-known school.
“[The Jazz workout] went really well,” explained Thompson. “It was a great experience to meet everybody in the organization, especially the general manager. It was also really great to be getting my name out there.”
While the workout does not translate to a guarantee that Thompson will be suiting up in Jazz purple come fall 2013, or for any NBA team for that matter, it does allow him to take crucial steps towards a professional basketball future. The workout allows Thompson to see where he stands in the opinions of NBA executives, who are not shy when it comes to telling a player where they need improvement.
Although many players who work out for NBA teams go undrafted, many of them also receive the opportunity to shine in Europe with a professional team. Thompson sees this as a chance to get his professional career started and to sharpen his game.
“Obviously I would like to play in the NBA,” Thompson stated. “I have gotten some offers to play in Europe. This is an opportunity to make a lot money and to get better so that I can play in the NBA someday.”
Playing in Europe has been the destination for many former college basketball players that played in the state of Utah. Former BYU basketball star Travis Hansen took his game to Russia and has enjoyed a long, fruitful career. Former UVU star Ryan Toolson also has had major success in the Spanish leagues and continues to improve.
“I can play anywhere,” Thompson said. “I want to play for a solid organization and where I can play soon.”
It doesn’t really matter for Thompson where he ends up, as long as he gets to play the sport that he loves. That type of heart, blended with the confidence he already has, will unquestionably lead to a long and successful career.