2012 Basketball Preview: Sam Thompson

Written October 26th, 2012 by Tim Shoemaker

Looking for the best athlete in the Big Ten? Ohio State’s Slam, I mean Sam, Thompson is that guy.

Up, up and away

Out of high school, Thompson came into Ohio State with the reputation of being a high flyer and during his freshman campaign for the Buckeyes he proved just that.

Notables:
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
High School: Whitney Young
Position: Forward
Year: Sophomore
Height: 6-7
Weight: 200

Freshman Statistics:
- 10.6 MPG
- 2.1 PPG
- 1.1 RPG
- 49.3 FG% (34/69)

He showed himself very capable of making the highlight reel play on the offense side of the ball and to be a solid defender as well. He has all of the tools to become a lock down perimeter defender this season.

Thompson will still be coming off of the bench for the Buckeyes in 2012, but his role will have to change a bit. A lot more will be asked of him offensively. Thad Matta said yesterday at Big Ten media day in Chicago that Thompson has worked extremely hard on his offensive game, specifically his jump shot. And he needed to. Watching Thompson shoot the ball was painful at times as he seemed to have absolutely no confidence in his jumper.

While there is a lot of doubt about Thompson’s jump shot and overall offensive game, nobody questions his game-changing athletic ability. Just take a look at this dunk he threw down against Indiana last year:

And because we all love watching Thompson dunk so much, here’s one more video from a few weeks back when CBS’ Seth Davis visited an OSU practice and wanted Thompson to dunk over him:

Strengths:

We’ve already touched on Thompson’s athletic ability a number of times, but it really is something to be amazed by.

He’s versatility defensively is also a huge weapon. He can guard multiple positions because of that athleticism and also because of his length. Add Thompson in along with the likes of Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott and Lenzelle Smith Jr., and OSU has four guys that can cause havoc defensively on the perimeter. There aren’t too many teams in the country who can say that.

Weaknesses:
Without a doubt, Thompson’s biggest weakness last season was his jump shot. His three point shot was even worse than his mid-range game. Thompson attempted just 14 3-point field goals during his freshman season, but he only made one. That comes out to a whopping 7% from deep. That’s simply not going to get it done on a team that is desperately looking for another shooter not named Deshaun Thomas.

I would also like to see Thompson become more aggressive on the offensive end. He’s an intelligent basketball player, but doesn’t seem to attack the basket off the dribble. If he can get to the hoop, he’s going to finish, so I would like to see him be more aggressive with the ball in his hands this year.

Role With the Team:

Thompson will likely be the first guy off Thad Matta’s bench again this season. There’s no doubt about it, he’s a game-changer off of the bench. If I were to use a cross-sport reference, he’s like that speedy wide receiver in football that can be lined up in multiple positions and can change a game on one play. That’s what Sam Thompson is to this Buckeye team.

This is one guy in the Big Ten you would pay to see. Look for many more of those highlight dunks from Sam Thompson in the 2012-2013 season.

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