By Corey Donetz
The road to success is a long one, and that is no different for Rider graduate Ryan Thompson. After spending four years at Rider and last year in Utah playing for the Utah Flash of the NBA D-League, Thompson has packed his bags and will be playing professionally thousands of miles away from home with the Italian basketball team Centrale del Latte Brescia.
Thompson will be used as a guard/forward and will continue to sport the number five he wore at Rider.
Thompson received offers to play in other places in Europe, but claims Belgium, Israel and Italy were the best offers.
“Teams that wanted me contacted my agent and said they wanted me,” Thompson said. “[Italy] was just a great place to live, and was the best situation. They (Brescia) called my agent and they offered me a spot on this team and I packed up and left in August.”
Jason Thompson, Ryan’s older brother who also graduated from Rider and currently plays for the Sacramento Kings, is his number one resource both on and off the court.
“He is my role model,” Thompson said. “[He] always gives me the advice I need.”
Thompson says he has improved his game in every aspect since graduating from Rider, both mentally and physically, but is still trying to improve every day.
“I have become a better shooter,” he added. “[I’ve] improved my all-around game.”
His time spent in the NBA D-League didn’t go to waste, despite his injured ankle. He gained professional experience, which will be vital to him going forward.
“It was a great learning experience,” Thompson said. “[I played] against older and stronger players, and [learned] how to slow my game down.”
Despite limited playing time with the Flash, Thompson posted very respectable numbers.
“Last year in the D-League I was hurt for the first half of the season with a broken ankle,” he said. “Then I finished up the year in April when we lost in the first round of the playoffs.”
Over 42 games, Thompson averaged 11 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. He also shot over 50 percent from the field. In the playoffs he averaged 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and two assists per game.
Thompson graduated from Rider compiling 1,879 points, 734 rebounds, and 393 assists. He is also the only player to ever finish in the top 10 for a career in points, rebounds and assists.
Thompson feels he benefited greatly from playing all four years in college as opposed to some players leaving early and declaring for the NBA Draft.
“You get four years to learn how to play the game. It’s hard for some people going straight to the NBA,” admitted Thompson. “[I’m looking to improve] my stock to get back in the NBA.”
Brescia opens the season on Oct. 2 against Sigma Barcellona as Thompson looks to put the skills he gained at Rider on display.