WLSU inks Thompson

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 1, 2004

CHESAPEAKE - Norm Persin has had a lot of outstanding point guards during his tenure as the Chesapeake Panthers head basketball coach, and he measures the talents of Daniel Thompson with a couple of numbers.

But they're some kind of numbers.

"Daniel has been the point guard for two years and he's 45-5. That's enough said," Persin said after Thompson signed a scholarship letter-of-intent to play at West Liberty State University.

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"He did what he had to do as good as anyone. He was the only starter we had back and no one expected us to do what we did. That's a reflection on his work and leadership."

The Panthers were 22-3 this past season, won a ninth straight Ohio Valley Conference championship, and advanced to the Division III regional finals.

Thompson, a 6-foot point guard, was a first team all-district selection and named All-Ohio Special Mention by the Associated Press.

Thompson posted an 11.5 scoring average with 4.5 assists, 44 percent shooting from the field and 89 percent from the line.

Although Rio Grande and Shawnee State were in the recruiting battle, Thompson picked West Liberty State for several reasons.

"For one thing, they gave me more money," Thompson said. ""But it's a great school. They've got a new coach and their style of play is a lot like we played at Chesapeake. They run and press.

"I hope I can go there and help build the program. I don't think I'll go and start, but I hope I play and that I can be a big impact down the road."

West Liberty liked Thompson's style of play, too. He said the coaching staff told him "they like my defensive intensity. They said I'd fit right in."

Thompson's stellar play this past season was even more amazing because he switched from behind right-handed to using his left hand to shoot and handle the ball.

An extension problem with his elbow that has been with him since birth caused Thompson to make the switch.

"My junior year it hurt when I released the ball," Thompson said. "I went to my left hand. I shot 200 free throws a day and worked on using my left hand. It made me play better."

Persin said Thompson not only played better this past season, but he expects more improvement at the college level.

"His better basketball is ahead of him because he had to change hands," Persin said.

If it takes additional work to improve his game, Thompson is more than up to the challenge.

"I've really adapted to using my left hand. I love basketball and I love working on the game," Thompson said.