Thompson making most of opportunity

Story by Chris Graham
sportsdom@ntelos.net

vatech_thumbnail.jpgListen to today’s “SportsDominion Show,” featuring interviews with UVa. basketball coach Dave Leitao and Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg.

Jeff Allen who?
“I can’t say enough about J.T. Thompson – how hard he played, and how active he was and how resilient he was in terms of playing against bigger people,” said Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg, talking about the 6-6 freshman forward, who scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in the Hokies’ 81-73 win at Boston College on Saturday and scored 13 points and snared eight rebounds in Tech’s 81-64 loss to Duke on Thursday.

Thompson’s numbers went up last week as a result of the two-game suspension handed down to Allen after the freshman was ejected for bumping into an official late in the Hokies’ 81-70 loss at Georgia Tech two weeks ago.

Heading into the Duke game, Thompson had been averaging 3.1 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game in 13 minutes per game of playing time. In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Thompson gave Greenberg an average of 30 minutes of playing time per game last week.

Greenberg told reporters today on his weekly conference call that he isn’t surprised to see Thompson contributing the way he is now.

“We recruited a guy that’s extremely competitive, plays hard, that’s a hybrid forward – he’s a three-four or a four-three, whatever you want to call him – extremely competitive, physically strong, winning player. And I think that’s what we recruited, and that’s what we got,” Greenberg said.

“It’s taken him a little bit longer, but he spent the whole summer really working on his academics. He didn’t play very much basketball this summer, and it’s taken him a little while to get that balance and be as alert as we expected him to be,” Greenberg said.

“He got the opportunity, and with that opportunity, he’s wrapped his arms around it, and he’s done a terrific job. And I’m very proud of him, and I’m proud of how hard he’s worked on and off the court,” Greenberg said.

   

Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.

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The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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