By Jordan Hall
Senior Ryan Thompson boosted his NBA draft stock in impressive fashion this past weekend at the annual Portsmouth Invitational. The traditional tournament invites 64 of the best senior college basketball players in the country to compete in front of representatives of every NBA team as well as international scouts. Thompson received the invitation and took full advantage.
The 6’6” swingman proved he could play with the top talent in the nation right from the start. With competition from the likes of North Carolina, Michigan State and UConn, Thompson was the best on the floor during day one.
Rider’s fourth all-time leading scorer didn’t perform like your typical mid-major player, but instead stood out and impressed the most. Thompson led his team, the Norfolk Sports Club, to a 114-82 victory in game one, dropping a tournament-high 37 points to go along with four steals, four assists and no turnovers. He shot an amazing 14-20 from the field, a perfect 5-5 from the charity stripe and knocked down four of five from deep.
More impressively, Thompson did it within the flow of the offense with tremendous efficiency. He never forced the issue and he scored through the offense. The multitalented prospect showed his great versatility from start to finish, hitting from three, scoring from mid-range and finishing around the rim.
Draftexpress.com, a highly touted NBA draft Web site, had much to say about the Rider product.
“He scored from all over the floor today, showing a diverse offensive arsenal in the process: an improved perimeter stroke, the ability to create separation and opportunities from mid-range, and slashing abilities,” the Web site said.
Jonathan Givony, president and NBA draft expert from draftexpress.com, stated on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City that Thompson was a player who improved his status drastically after day one.
“If he can continue to play at that level, I think he may have a chance at getting picked because he has good size, he’s 6’6”, he can shoot, he can pass, he’s a very nice all-around player,” he said. “Thirty-seven points, that’s always going to open up some eyes.”
Thompson followed up his opening act with a solid semifinal, leading his team in scoring with 13 points and grabbing six rebounds before falling 77-67. The two-time First-Team All MAAC selection shot 3-4 from three-point range, demonstrating the range and depth on his stroke that nbadraft.net liked, as well as his true point guard skills.
“Not nearly as impressive as he was on the first day, Thompson was able to show a number of nice things. His outside shot is a reliable weapon and he has no problems shooting from beyond the extended three-point line. Another good performance may just put him into serious second round considerations,” according to the Web site.
Thompson concluded the invitational with his most balanced effort of the tournament in the third place matchup. Rider’s leading scorer filled up the stat sheet in an 87-84 loss with 22 points, nine boards and six helpers as he finished an outstanding tournament in which he worked very hard for, knowing its implications on his future.
“I prepared a lot for this tournament and was very confident with my game going into it,” he said.
Thompson was named to the All-Tournament Team as he led the entire invitational in scoring (24 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage (64 percent) while finishing in the top 10 of nine major stat categories.
The potential draft pick’s status has certainly increased and he now hopes for an invite to the NBA Combine in Chicago and team workouts following that.
“Ryan Thompson certainly has a chance to get drafted if he does very well in his team workouts,” said Ryan Feldman of the hoopsreport.com.
Thompson is just as confident.
“I feel like my stock has risen a lot after this tournament,” he said. “I have been talking to my agent and Coach Dempsey and they both have been getting a lot of feedback from other teams. I’m just taking this whole process step by step.”