Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
A Late Bloomer
***image7*** MARYLAND — Charles Thompson, a senior, at Charles Herbert Flowers High, in Springdale, Maryland invited me to his private palace-the bedroom. Only he had to stoop down to enter the room. In the closet are nine boxes of Retro Air Jordan and Pro Model Adidas on both shelves. Size 14. On top of his DVD player is a Martin Lawrence movie called “Rebound”- A Slam Dunk Comedy. It’s obvious that this youngster loves the hoop game.
As a toddler, Charles traveled to Robert Morris College observing his uncle on the hardwood. His mother registered him for basketball at age 11. He played for the Glenarden Boys and Girls Club, the Prince George‘s Jaguars and the Maryland Blue Chips‘ A.A.U. circuit. “The experience helped me a lot, by playing against tougher, bigger and better opponents around the country,“ he explained. Under the leadership of coach Craig Brown and Timothy Albritton, Charles was one of the biggest kids they had, who kept working hard and returning to practice. “As a Jaguar, he had a triple “double in five of six games and played in the title game against D.C. Assault,“ says Brown.
During winter basketball, he improved rapidly on the court, earning the Most Improved Player, the Outstanding Defensive Player and the Most Valuable Player awards. In 2005, with the Maryland Blue Chips, he made the All Tournament squad at the 12th Annual Jaguar Tournament in Columbia, Maryland.
The graduate of Kenmore Elementary and Walker Mill Middle School, enrolled at Suitland High as a ninth grader. Transferring to Flowers, the lanky, shy, tenth grader represented the junior varsity team for half a season. “At Flowers, the coaching staff work with a big man more on the block, with the low post moves, and 15 footers,“ the 3.0 pupil clarified.
Flowers best basketball season occurred in 2003- (16-6 record).
Currently, this 4A squad is riding high with an impressive 17-1 record. They are ranked 10th in the Washington Post. In defeating Oxon Hill, 68-47, Thompson blocked a shot without jumping. “ Says James Wheeler, a grade level administrator,“ Charles represents self and the family well, he‘s a quiet giant, who has grown, matured and now is a starter.“
During a January 27 game that featured two big men, Charles displayed his offensive skills. Against Roscoe Davis, the 6 foot 10 sophomore at Douglass, who scored 17 points, Thompson tallied 11 points in an 82-46 blow out. “I would rate his talent pretty good, he‘s competitive, “ Davis admitted. Jordan Brooks, the Jaguars point guard, fed the big fellow for an uncontested dunk. Thompson made a15 footer, thanks to the unselfish play of senior Justin Robertson. “He‘s the big man on campus, without him we wouldn‘t get no boards, “ Robertson stated.
Coach Sam Harris of Crossland High informed his players that in order to beat the Jaguars, they must stop Jordan Brooks and Charles Thompson. With scoring capabilities, Thompson illustrated a mini hook; grab countless rebounds and blocked a shot that ignited a fast break. Showing no emotion, he blocked another Cavalier shot into the bleachers during the 72- 58 win. “ Charles is one of the best big men in the county, he‘s a good player, well disciplined, and fits into Flowers’ system,“ says Harris. “He shares the ball, we played good, but not at the end.“
The teammates call him “Tim Duncan.“ Thompson feels that he can get physically stronger and improve his footwork. The most fascinating part of basketball is when he releases a jump shot that goes in. “Definitely he‘s a late bloomer and his best basketball is ahead of him,“ said Coach Mc Clure. “I am lucky to have him and the maturation process is great.“
Academically, he loves the computer and all Math classes. He appreciates the support of Brent Pasko, an English teacher. His studying method consists of two hours in the studying hall and at home. For approximately eight years, Charles was in the Talented And Gifted program. His mother and grandparents, Robert and Ann Jones, have nurtured him from day one. “I feel very good about my son’s success, so far, ” said Crystal Thompson, a Federal Trade Commission contract support specialist. Marquis, who attends Phyllis E. Williams, is as equally as proud. “I feel good about my big brother, who helps me with Math and my basketball skills.“
Stanford sent the 6 foot 7 center a letter of interest last year. Norfolk State University, Rider University, and a couple of division two schools are in pursuit, also. Sports Management or Business Administration will be his major selections. Socially, he checks the emails, do research on colleges and attends auto shows.
Momentarily, Charles‘ personal goal is to learn more, to get better, and like everyone else, win a championship. “We feel better about winning a title this year than in the past years, “ Thompson says. His legacy is to be remembered as one of the best big men to play at Flowers, and on the next level. Not a bad concept.
All photos by: ROBERT EUBANKS
Article riginally Published on July 5, 2006