April 01, 2017 by Fuzzy Dunlop
Drexel Recreation Center’s Johnny Thompkins has been named “Athlete of the Week” for the week of March 26 – April 1 following his performance in a variety of basketball games taking place in the Rec center’s courts throughout the week.
A junior communications major, Thompkins is well-known in Drexel recreational basketball circles for his game. This week, due to a surprising lack of final exams, Thompkins was able to find plenty of time in his busy schedule to hone his craft.
In a pickup game on Monday, Thompkins showed out, taking 16 shots and recording one steal. He told The Rectangle that he felt happy with his performance in the game, especially near the end.
“I really feel like these guys play through me, you know? I like to get my teammates involved, but sometimes there’s just another level you have to hit where you know that you taking over is what’s best for the team.”
When asked about the game, a teammate gushed about Thompkins’ passing abilities:
“He passed two times all game. Two. He was the point guard! We lost by six in a game to seven! I usually at least have fun, but man, that game was a bummer.”
Unable to get enough of the game he loves, Thompkins returned the following night to take on more challengers, this time playing with members of the club basketball team. Despite the heightened level of play, he still managed to put up 17 shots and grab ome rebound in the effort. According to Thompkins, he welcomes the challenge.
“I love [the challenge], it’s really great. It helps me grow as a player out there, going against some good players. Sometimes, on defense, to help my teammates get better, I won’t call out screens or play help defense. I find that it really allows people to hone their defense, and you know what they say, defense wins championships!”
A teammate of his contacted The Rectangle after learning about his athlete of the week honor to rave about his leadership qualities:
“He yells, like a lot. Sometimes it’s like ‘hey, chill out man, it’s just pickup basketball.’ He resorts to name calling and sort of blames people for all of his mistakes, it’s kind of terrifying, I mean fascinating to see.”
After taking a day for rest following the brutal back-to-back run on Monday and Tuesday, Thompkins returned to action on Thursday for a tough matchup against a group of older players. He took an astonishing 20 shots—a career high—in the game to 11. Thompkins said it presented him with a rare opportunity to work on his fundamentals.
“Those guys, they really know the game. Crisp passes, solid screens, lots of midrange shooting. I love playing with them because I get a better grip on the nuances of the game, which I sometimes lack, not to mention that my superior athleticism allows me to dominate!”
One of the octogenarians involved in the game raved about his potential:
“A lot of the time, I see what he’s trying to do, I really do. He knows to try to put the ball in the basket and to try to dribble. In all of my years, I’ve never seen anything quite like his game. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not basketball.”
In his final matchup of the week, Thompkins managed to involve himself in the faculty lunch time game and truly had his finest performance of the week: 16 shots, 12 turnovers, and one assist. The strength and athleticism of the faculty shocked Thompkins in the game.
“Wow, those guys can really still move! I mean, I still got mine, like I always do, but they made it tough on me.”
A professor in the business department really liked how Thompkins looked out there:
“His haircut is phenomenal. Really, kid looks great! I might have to ask him where he goes. Oh, you mean basketball-wise? Oh no, I’ve never seen someone look so lost and uncomfortable, and I’ve chaperoned multiple Dragons After Dark events.”
On the week, Thompkins scored four points, tallied two assists and one rebound. When asked about receiving the athlete of the week honor, he remained humble as always, focusing on his teammates as the source of his success.
“I’m incredibly honored to get the award, it’s a testament to my hard work and dedication to the game. I also have to mention my teammates, who were definitely there on the court the whole time, really making it so I could do what I do.”