Page 10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 10, 1985
becomes sixth man
By JEFF BERGIDA
While Garde Thompson was atten-
ding East Grand Rapids High School,
he was the star-in three different
It's not surprising to learn that the 6-
1, 170 pound guard was an all-state
basketball player for three seasons.
But Thompson also pitched and played
shortstop for the baseball team, was
all-conference and hit .385 his senior
year. In the fall, he found time to play
quarterback and wide receiver.
SO ONE MIGHT think the sophomore
would find it difficult adjusting to his
role at Michigan. Thompson is expec-
ted to come off the bench and lend
stability to the Wolverine attack. The
former scoring machine is working in a
system where defense and passing is
Thompson has fit right into that
While his freshman year consisted
mainly of sitting and learning, Thom-
pson has already played 200 minutes
this season, sixth most on the team. His
26 assists are third behind starting
guards Antione Joubert and Gary
to supporting role
Grant and a 78 percent free throw per-
centage also places Thompson third.
ALTHOUGH HIS shooting from the
floor has been cold as of late, the Grand
Rapids native converted 11 of his first
13 attempts this season-an incredible
85 percent clip.
"I've got no complaints about Gar-
de," said Michigan coach Bill Frieder.
"He's given us leadership and his
defense is getting better. He's working
"I try to go out and be a floor leader,"
Thompson said. "I try to keep the guys
loose and going in the right direction."
THOMPSON CAN DO the job in a lot
of ways. Against Eastern Michigan
earlier this season, the sixth man
struggled with his shooting but still con-
tributed seven assists, three steals, five
rebounds and persistent defense in 28
minutes of playing time. His glory days
at East Grand Rapids haven't hindered
Thompson's development into a fine
"If someone's open, I'll always hit
them (rather than take the shot)," he
said. "That's the kind of player I am.
They know that. So whenever I have
the ball, everyone's looking for the
When Dan Pelekoudas graduated and
Eric Turner went hardship following
the 1983-84 season, Thompson appeared
to be the obvious choice to take over as
starting point guard. Then along came
Grant, that rare freshman good enough
to step into a starting position with a
contending club. Thompson was asked
to roll with the punches.
"I KNEW THAT he (Grant) was the
number one high school point guard in
the country," he said. "So I never told
myself, 'You're going to be the starting
point guard.' I just did all the stuff I
was supposed to do this summer."
While the addition of Grant may have
prevented Thompson from gaining a
starting spot, he is still seeing a lot of
action and understands why he is
coming off the bench.
"Maybe I don't have as much talent
as Gary has," Thompson said. "He's
got about two-and-a-half inches on me
and he's a little quicker. But that's
about the only difference. We can both
pass. We can both shoot."
WORKING AGAINST Grant in prac-
tice every day has given the sophomore
a unique perspective on his celebrated
teammate. "You can't really compare
Gary to anyone," Thompson said. "As
a freshman, right now, he's probably
one of the best point guards in the Big
Frieder says the competition between
the two makes both backcourtmen bet-
ter players. "We've got a big benefit at
the guard position because Rock and
Joubert and Garde and Gary have to go
against each other. We don't have that
kind of competition in the front line and
that's hurting us."
Thompson was heavily recruited.
Tennessee, Illinois, Syracuse, and
especially Michigan State ("Jud
Heathcote? He's crazy. He's a good
guy though. I got along with him
well.") were serious contenders before
he made the decision to wear Maize and
HE HAS HAD to adapt his style of
play, but Thompson has no regrets
about his choice. "You can't go to a
school strictly because you're going to
start," he said. "I could've gone to a lot
of Division I schools and started. But
when you get done with your four years,
what have you got?"
"If you graduate Michigan with a
degree and you play on the basketball
team, you can get a job anywhere.
There are so many alumni all over the
country who will have heard your name
and they'll give you an opportunity
before someone who's from another
Many athletes have trouble making
the transition from high school hero to
college role player. Thompson is
making a difficult change look easy.
Help Us Create
1q In an AT i Af
. ,f h-,,
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Garde Thompson, shown here in an exhibition game against Yugoslavia, has
made the transition to his new role on the court look easy.
Tarheels topple Terps
rtmd f ss night
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