Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

From Orlando to San Antonio A look back with UTSA Head Coach Brooks Thompson


With the 27th pick of the 1994 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic selected Brooks J. Thompson of Oklahoma State University.

“I never thought I’d be good enough when I’d watch NBA games so it was a dream come true, no doubt about it. When David Stern called my name, it was shocking,” said Thompson reflecting on the draft. “Hard work does pay off. I know that’s cliché but I worked my tail off and it was a dream of mine and I got to live it out,” he continued.

Thompson’s dream of playing in the NBA began in Littleton, Colorado where he attended Littleton High School. “We had great tradition (at Littleton High School),” said Thompson of his high school. Evidence of that great tradition can be found in Thompson’s senior year, 1989. In that year, Littleton went on a state title run that included a 24-0 record and a Colorado Player of the Year selection for Thompson.

After his stellar senior year, Thompson began receiving recognition from notable Division I schools, namely Texas A&M where he began his collegiate career. “I was a late bloomer, so early in my senior year I didn’t have a whole lot going on, but later in my senior year (my recruiting) kind of exploded. Right when Texas A&M came in, I knew that’s where I was going,” Thompson said of his recruitment process.

After two years at Texas A&M, Thompson transferred to Oklahoma State. “It was only a basketball move,” said Thompson on the change. “I really wanted to get my degree at Texas A&M, but I felt like if I wanted an opportunity to play at the next level I had to do that.”

Thompson was productive in both of his years as an Oklahoma State Cowboy. He averaged 15 points with five assists in his junior year and 17 points with six assists in his senior year including an impressive .472 field goal percentage. He received all-conference honors both years, but never received the accolade he truly aspired for — a national championship. “We got beat in the second round (of the NCAA tournament) both years and I felt like we underachieved. I felt like we should have gone to a Final Four. We wanted a national championship, that’s what we were playing for,” said Thompson.

Despite showing promise as a young player for the Magic — evident by his then franchise-record 21 point quarter — Thompson never truly found his footing as an NBA player. During his four years in the league, Thompson played for five different teams and even spent some time overseas briefly appearing with a Greek club. “It was hard never calling a place home,” said Thompson.

After taking multiple coaching jobs which included an assistant coach position at Oklahoma State and a head coach position at a community college, Thompson accepted the head coach position at UTSA in 2006.

As the head coach for the UTSA men’s basketball team, Thompson led the club to its first ever post-season win.

“As a player, there’s a lot less pressure,” said Thompson with a laugh, comparing his appearance in the tournament as a coach to his experience as a player.

“It was a lot more fun to watch my guys celebrate those wins. To watch them celebrate was a lot more rewarding for me than it was as a player,” he continued.

Thompson and the Roadrunners compete next against Southern Miss. on Feb. 26 in Hattiesburg, Miss.

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