INDIANAPOLIS – Aaron Thompson has only one goal in the near future: to play professional basketball for as long as possible. But Butler Bulldog’s product didn’t get NBA attention until Monday when he trained for the Indiana Pacers.
With the NBA draft days left, Thompson was grateful to have just had a chance with a professional organization. After spending five seasons at the Bulldogs, Thompson left the program for the most productive career record, but scored an average of just 7.3 points during his career. The chances of Thompson getting on the NBA list may be low, but Monday’s training gave him as much exposure as any other player.
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“It seems to me that I was called a potential person,” Thompson said. “If they brought me in, they’d expect me to come out and show what I can do. That confidence has taken me a long way. I feel like when I’m here with the rest of the guys, I get the exact same blow.”
Thompson trained with the best potential Shaedon Sharpe, Jake LaRavia, Jermaine Samuels, Alfonso Plummer and Vincent Williams Jr. Thompson said he liked the way he competed on Monday because his main role was to protect and facilitate the attack.
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Although his role in training was similar to that of Butler, he believes it could expand into a professional game.
“If I had the opportunity to play, I think my role would definitely expand,” Thompson said. “I think I can show my ability to make blows. I came here and did one today. I think what I showed in college would be my role more like TJ McConnell, who would play that role just in the lead.
After completing a five-year career at Butler, Thompson has continued training in Indiana while helping with Bulldogs’ summer camps. Thompson’s ideal goal is to get on the NBA team’s summer league list, but he would be just as excited about creating a career abroad.
Although Thompson enjoys teaching basketball and working in camps with children, he is not yet ready to think about a coaching career. He believes he has a long professional career and this has always been a vision.
“It would make a lifelong dream come true, playing basketball for money. Many people dream of it,” Thompson said. I get up every day and work to the best of my ability to make it happen.
Since Thompson had his first and probably last NBA training session, it was special to compete again in Indianapolis, the place where he grew the most. His career as a basketball player in Indiana has not always gone as expected, as the Bulldogs had three losses in Thompson’s five years.
A few weeks after Thompson played his last college game, his former head coach and role model LaVall Jordan Butler was fired. Although Thompson said the two had not had the opportunity to speak recently, he had difficulty firing Jordan.
Related:Butler fired basketball coach LaVall Jordan
“It seems to me that LaVall is the Butler type, so it was hard for me because I know his history, he went to Butler, he returns and is a coach,” Thompson said. “I know it was his dream. I took it exactly as he took it. I had a hard time knowing that this was my coach and we lived through this thing together. So it affected me, too.”
Despite some difficult experience in college, Thompson is forever grateful to Butler. The history of basketball in Butler and Indiana is something he feels connected to forever.
“Butler is definitely a special place for me,” Thompson said. “I spent five years there. I grew up in Butler. I feel like I became a man there. It’s definitely a special place. Guys like Ron (Nored) come back and just get to the game and how to carry things with them. I think that this stuff is special, even more special that he’s here to get me out of trouble.
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