NBA Daily: A Chat With Darius Thompson

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Darius Thompson out of Western Kentucky is ready to take his next step into the NBA.

The neophyte has been going through the pre-draft process and has been having workouts with multiple teams, including with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

“I thought it went well,” Thompson said of his time with Toronto. “I think I did good enough to hopefully impress the team, to show them how capable I am as an athlete, was able to knock down a few shots. I think it went, overall, pretty good.”

Thompson has another workout scheduled for Saturday with the Orlando Magic, sources say.

This past season, Thompson averaged 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. He shot 46.3 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from three and had multiple triple-doubles, including against Marshall.

Thompson has become renown for getting high quality looks and often finds himself shooting favorable percentages from the field. It’s a strength that he believes he can replicate at the next level.

“I would say me just focusing on getting good shots,” Thompson said. “I really try to pride myself on not getting too sped up, or not trying to force things. I try to just set up a good shot, and try to knock down shots when I have a wide open look.”

Still, the young guard knows that there is still room for improvement in his game.

“I’ll just try to be more aggressive attacking the basket, looking to score more,” Thompson said. “I think that’s one of the big things I need to focus on, being more aggressive to score instead of looking to pass as much, ’cause that’s one of my biggest things. I love passing the ball. So, just trying to mix it up and being able to show that I can be a threat to score, as well.”

In terms of his current strengths, though, he described it.

“I think my IQ and my core vision,” Thompson said. “I think that’s one of the biggest things for me. My play-making ability. I love to get my teammates involved, love to set up my teammates to get an easier shot. I think that’s one of the biggest things for me, is just going out there and helping my teammates … get the most out of my teammates as possible. Just helping them with confidence, boosting up their confidence and being there, making sure they know that they’re shooters and they can knock down shots. So, just my play-making ability and being able to help my teammates out.”

He also describes that he tries to scout different positions and players and tries to put that into his own game.

“No. I wouldn’t say I try to model it after specifically one player,” Thompson said. “I kinda just try to watch different positions, different players and try to get little things I like from each one of them and try to put it into my game.”

This past season, Thompson also had the opportunity to play against his father’s (Lonnie Thompson) team, Cumberland University. He helped lead Western Kentucky defeat Cumberland in the exhibition game, 109-66. Thompson had 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

“Oh, it was a crazy experience, actually getting to go up to my dad before the game,” Thompson said. “He was talking a bunch of crap to me, about how they were gonna beat me, and how he was gonna surprise everybody to beating us. But, it was a fun experience, getting to go against my dad. It was kinda awkward, ’cause I’m so used to him coaching me and being there to help me out, so, I felt to see him going against me for the first time was the weirdest thing. But, overall, it was a fun time.”

The pre-draft process can be a long process for some, but Thompson is enjoying it.

“I mean, it’s been fun to me,” he said. “Going every day and just being able to grind and play the game I love, it’s been huge. And the guys I’m with are a great group of guys, all either working to be in the same process that I’m in, or they’ve already been in the process. So, just being around a great group of guys, just playing the game and to have the same love … I mean, it’s been amazing.”

Now, he’s looking toward the NBA.