ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

010122.S.BP.BSUMBB Derek Thompson.JPG
Bemidji State senior Derek Thompson (5) is announced as a starter before a game against Minnesota Duluth on Dec. 2, 2021, at the BSU Gymnasium. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.”

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
What To Read Next
Bemidji State's John Sutherland scored 20 points in the first half, compiling that gaudy total on 10-11 shooting from the floor. His prolific output powered the Beavers to a 50-point first half.
Bemidji State (5-14, 2-13 NSIC) trailed by 10 points early in the fourth quarter before staging its comeback.
The Beavers outshot No. 15 St. Cloud State 32-27, but two power-play goals powered the Huskies to a 2-0 win. The rematch on Saturday will be part of Hockey Day Minnesota and televised regionally.
The Beavers fell down 2-0 to Lake Superior State, making their prospects of a comeback grim. BSU slowly chipped away, scoring once in the second period and twice in the third to knock off the Lakers.