MEN'S BASKETBALL: Derek Thompson focused on regaining consistency for Bemidji State
Derek Thompson will soon be remembered as one of the greatest athletes to ever play for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team. He’s gotten there with high standards for himself, which he’s holding himself to now.
BEMIDJI -- Derek Thompson will soon be remembered as one of the greatest athletes to ever play for the Bemidji State men’s basketball team. He’s gotten there with high standards for himself, which he’s holding himself to now.
“It’s been pretty frustrating, the way I’ve been playing, to be honest,” Thompson said. “I’ve had maybe one or two decent games, but I think my team needs me to be consistent.”
In 11 games so far this season, Thompson has scored in double figures just twice. That’s a far cry from his usual steadiness, a consistency that has him fifth all-time in points and sixth all-time in rebounds at BSU.
“I could go out and score zero points the rest of the year, but if we win every single game, I’ll be more than happy,” Thompson said. “But I know that it takes me playing well… and everybody playing well together to put W’s in the win column.”
Nearing the midway point in the season, the Beavers are 5-6 overall and 2-5 in NSIC play. Elevated play from Thompson and his teammates will be a necessary element for Bemidji State to rise up from seventh in the NSIC North Division standings.
“If being good was easy, everybody would be good,” BSU head coach Mike Boschee said. “It’s not easy. It’s a challenge.”
Yet, despite some hardships, the Beavers feel like they’re in a decent spot. While Thompson doesn’t have the numbers he wants right now, his role stretches beyond the stat sheet. As the most veteran player on the team, Thompson’s leadership is something other players can look to.
“A player-led team is much better than a coach-led team,” Boschee said. “The coach has a voice, but it’s ultimately what they believe in as a group.”
Even Thompson feels that trickle-down effect.
“My shots aren’t falling right now, but I’ve just got to believe that they will go in and just continue to work hard,” he said. “I’ve got everybody on my team telling me the right things, telling me I’m doing the right thing. I’ve got faith and confidence that it’ll turn around.”
Thompson has that chance at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, against Minnesota Crookston at the BSU Gymnasium. Bemidji State will open its 2022 slate against the Golden Eagles (4-9, 1-6 NSIC) with a shot at righting the ship.
More program milestones are also on the line for Thompson. He’s currently 16 points away from fourth all-time in scoring, plus two boards shy of fifth all-time in rebounding.
And if he comes out and drains his first shot, look out.
“I definitely think seeing that first one go in is big,” Thompson said. “It shouldn’t be as big as maybe it is, but it helps a lot to get that first jump hook or post move to go in, and also your first three to fall. When that happens, everything seems to go a little bit better.”