Purdue basketball alum P.J. Thompson returning as graduate assistant



You noticed them dazzle at Mackey. How did these Boilermakers do within the NBA?
Nate Chute, USA At this time Community

The previous Boilermaker level guard ended his skilled profession after one profitable season in Denmark to just accept Matt Painter’s supply.

Story Highlights

  • P.J. Thompson averaged 16.9 factors and 4.9 assists this season for Group FOG Naestved in Denmark.
  • Thompson’s profession assist-to-turnover ratio of two.94 is the most effective in Purdue historical past.
  • Thompson’s brother, Isaiah, will likely be an incoming Purdue basketball freshman within the coming season.

WEST LAFAYETTE – When Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter first known as P.J. Thompson about taking one among two vacant graduate assistant positions, the previous Boilermaker level guard graciously declined. 

The primary season of Thompson’s skilled basketball profession couldn’t have gone significantly better. He averaged 16.9 factors and a team-high 4.9 assists for Group FOG Naestved within the first division of the Danish Basketligaen. He shot 42.2 p.c from 3-point vary and helped Group FOG advance to the semifinals of the Danish Cup. 

Thompson put himself in place to maneuver to a extra prestigious league elsewhere abroad and proceed to make a very good dwelling enjoying. 

Then got here the second name. Thompson, who at all times envisioned a profession in teaching, started to shift his perspective. 

Purchase Picture

P.J. Thompson of Purdue with a three-point shot in opposition to Lipscomb Saturday, December 30, 2017, at Mackey Area. (Picture: John Terhune/Journal & Courier)

He just lately known as Painter again and advised him he would be a part of former teammate Grady Eifert as a graduate assistant starting subsequent season. 

“My agent was actually shocked,” Thompson mentioned. “He tried to persuade me to maintain enjoying as a result of he thought I may do actually abroad for a very long time. However I simply thought it was finest for my future.” 

GRADY EIFERT: Beginning ahead remaining with Purdue basketball as graduate assistant

Thompson will take a pay minimize. He proved himself within the Danish league and mentioned he had already acquired a number of inquiries — possible extra profitable monetary ones — from groups in additional prestigious leagues. 

Finally, nevertheless, Thompson noticed a chance to hurry up his true long-term plan. One of many Boilermakers’ first GAs, D.J. Byrd, joined former Purdue assistant Greg Gary’s workers at Mercer as director of basketball operations. The opposite, Joey Brooks, can also be pursuing teaching alternatives. 

“If I play till I am 30 years outdated abroad, I am not going to be a 30-year-old GA,” Thompson mentioned. “Not many coaches are going to rent someone with no earlier teaching expertise proper onto their workers.  

“As an alternative of discovering my means at 30-35 years outdated, I’d reasonably discover my means at 23 underneath a workers that needed me. They needed me actually unhealthy, or they would not have known as again.” 

Thompson had some calls to make, too. He leaned on his household, who he missed significantly whereas spending many of the previous eight months abroad.  

After deciding to take the gig, Thompson’s final name went to incoming Purdue freshman Isaiah Thompson. He needed to verify his presence wouldn’t be an issue for his youthful brother. 

“I did not wish to hinder our relationship by becoming a member of the workers,” Thompson mentioned. “On the finish of the day all the positives outweighed the negatives.  

“Me personally, I do know the grind of school, how powerful it’s bodily and mentally. I will be there for the primary two years, which can most likely be the toughest of his life so far as school basketball goes.” 

Thompson was a four-year contributor and three-year starter who helped Purdue win an outright Massive Ten Championship in 2017 and advance to 4 NCAA Tournaments. His assist-to-turnover ratio of two.94  stays this system’s all-time file, regardless of a problem from outgoing senior Ryan Cline – Thompson’s longtime good friend. 

Thompson, nevertheless, doesn’t return to Purdue as the identical participant who left. He believes a 12 months overseas will make him a greater GA instantly and a greater coach in the long term. 

“The professional recreation is completely different,” Thompson mentioned. “It is quicker. I discovered completely different reads and actions being abroad. I can take a few of that to the collegiate degree as nicely. It made me develop into higher with the psychological recreation of basketball. 

“I’ve a lot to study. I discovered rather a lot this previous 12 months. I can not wait to study rather a lot over the following two as nicely.” 

Contact Journal & Courier Purdue males’s basketball insider Nathan Baird at nbaird@jconline.com or 765-420-5234. Comply with on Twitter: @nbairdjc


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