Q&A: Treyton Thompson on Excitement for Gophers, Off-Season Work, and Much More

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Q&A: Treyton Thompson on Excitement for Gophers, Off-Season Work, and Much More
By Chris Monter

Treyton Thompson, a 6-foot-11 big man from Alexandria, committed to Minnesota last November, making him the first commitment for the Gophers in the Class of 2021.



Thompson spent his junior season at Indiana prep power La Lumiere, which was national ranked this past season.



Gopher Hole caught up with Thompson to learn more about his commitment, upcoming season and working hard to recruit players to join him in college.



Gopher Hole: You committed to Minnesota last November. What was the reason that you thought that Minnesota was where you wanted to be?



Treyton Thompson: There was actually a lot of reasons. I really liked their facilities. I like how the cafeteria is at the bottom and all the athletes can eat there and then on third or fourth floor, it is only their floor. Only men’s basketball people can be up there. I like that. They have their own weight room and it is also next to where I’ll be staying, so that is really nice. I have 24/7 access to get in there and also, it is home. My grandpa, actually, just got diagnosed with cancer. He loves watching me play. I have like a Wednesday league down at the park, playing outside and my grandpa actually comes and watches, because he doesn’t get to see me play because I am in Indiana for the whole year. That is another reason, my family. I just need them there. I want them to watch the last few years that they can. I really like the coaching staff. They are really good at developing players and I need a little bit of development with my muscles and everything like that, so they could get me right on that, but overall, I feel like they are better.



Gopher Hole: You mentioned your transfer from Alexandria to your present school last year. How did that help you as a player?



Treyton Thompson: It grew me tremendously. I was more confident at the higher level, playing against these older guys. I can just play. I’m not scared to play against them, because I have been playing against high prospects like Jalen Green, for instance and all the others like Makur Maker. You are not going to experience it anywhere else. They were top four in the nation last year. You’re not just top four for no reason. You have got to work really hard to get there and that is really showing me what it is like to be on the top.



Gopher Hole: Was it hard to leave Alexandria though?



Treyton Thompson: No, no, no. I hated Alexandria. As a sophomore, I was scoring almost 20 something points and ten blocks a game and it wasn’t helping me. I could stay home. Be really popular to everybody. Be the hometown hero, but I just want to get better. I don’t want to just stay at that level.



Gopher Hole: Was that kind of nice because at Alexandria you weren’t always playing against players even close to your size and where you played last season, you were playing against quality big men almost every game. Did that help you a lot as a player?



Treyton Thompson: At Alexandria, they could come in triple or quadruple team me sometimes, but playing at a high level, you can’t do that, because if you do that, I kick it to the next guy and he hits the shot. You just can’t do it and that is more like what it is going to be like in college.



Gopher Hole: I think that you have gotten even a little bit bigger and taller than the last time I saw you. What are you up to height and weight-wise right now?



Treyton Thompson: Actually, I have no idea. I’m just going to say I’m about 6-11. I went to the doctor two months ago, but I have been lifting since then and gaining weight. I was 192 then, so I am probably close to 200. Hopefully, I can get somewhere around there and then going back to La Lumiere, put on ten or 15 pounds before the start of the season.



Gopher Hole: Watching you in person the last few practices, it appears that you have worked hard on your outside shot and expanding your range. Is that one thing that you wanted to try to get better at?



Treyton Thompson: That was what I was trying to focus on this AAU season. Getting confident with my shot. The whole La Lumiere season, I wasn’t really confident. They had to keep nagging at me to shoot the ball. Towards the end, I kind of got more confident, taking one or two a game, but now, we are in here, practicing. Shoot as much as you want. Get up shots. Get comfortable.



Gopher Hole: You are playing against some good players on your team, but you are also playing against some former D1 players who are now freshman or sophomores in colleges (Dawson Garcia, Connor Christensen, Tyler Wahl, Dalton Brooks and Jamison Battle). Do you think that has helped you get a little more confidence because you have shown that you can play against these guys?



Treyton Thompson: It gives me like, kind of a reality check on where I am at. What I need to work on. You can’t be sloppy against these players, because they will just take the ball from you. You just have to be tight with everything.



Gopher Hole: Did you get a chance to watch the Gophers play at all this season?



Treyton Thompson: I watched almost every single game.



Gopher Hole: Daniel Oturu was a player who, to be honest, had a good freshman year, but really improved a lot. What did you gain from watching him?



Treyton Thompson: At the start of the season, he didn’t really have a shot and you could see at the end of the year, he started coming out and shooting more and props to Coach Pitino, from his freshman year to his sophomore year, he just exploded. I think that they said that he gained 30 pounds of muscle, so they really just develop players and watching him, he is quick, but not really quick, but he is smarter than the other players. He plays with more energy.



Gopher Hole: Does that give you some encouragement, thinking that “if they worked with him, that they could do the same with me and make me a better player?”



Treyton Thompson: I honestly think that any college will help you, if you just go in there and put your mind to it, any college can get to the next level.



Gopher Hole: You are coming back next year to La Lumiere. Do they have many other players coming back or are they bringing in a lot of new players?



Treyton Thompson: We got, I think three or four players from last year. We lost two seniors and the kid that played over in Poland. He is not coming back. He is playing in Germany this year with a club there, but we are probably, actually, getting Broden Lien.
 

golf

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Good interview. Seems highly motivated and has lots of confidence in gophers staff. Probly could have worded differently his thoughts about playing at Alexandria. Am guessing he didnt hate Alexandria, but just hated that he wasnt being challenged enough.
 

T-Bonegopher

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Golf I agree with your post. I like his statement ,My family I need them there. It would nice if more Minnesota kids had that frame of mind. Looking forward to seeing Treyton in maroon & gold.
 

Holy Man

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Good interview. Seems highly motivated and has lots of confidence in gophers staff. Probly could have worded differently his thoughts about playing at Alexandria. Am guessing he didnt hate Alexandria, but just hated that he wasnt being challenged enough.
Coming off as trashing the hometown high school is not good form. He's a kid, and should be given a pass, but he probably won't from some people who pull this quote trying to damage his character.
 

GopherBlood666

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Coming off as trashing the hometown high school is not good form. He's a kid, and should be given a pass, but he probably won't from some people who pull this quote trying to damage his character.
All I read was that he couldn't get the same level of basketball there as he could at prep school and was asked directly about that. How was he trashing that school by stating an obvious fact? He said he hated playing at Alexandria because he couldn't get the level of play he wanted, I don't think that was a rip on the city. He has stated previously in other interviews he still stays in touch with people from that city and has friends there.
 

Holy Man

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All I read was that he couldn't get the same level of basketball there as he could at prep school and was asked directly about that. How was he trashing that school by stating an obvious fact? He said he hated playing at Alexandria because he couldn't get the level of play he wanted, I don't think that was a rip on the city. He has stated previously in other interviews he still stays in touch with people from that city and has friends there.
I agree with you, but it doesn't take a PhD in state propaganda to take "I hated Alexandria" and put it in a place to impinge on his character. My guess is he is 17 years old and doesn't appreciate how things could be heard or read. No harm intended, but the quote is out there forever if someone wants to go after him. It's the merciless world of cyberspace.
 

TurfGopher

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I really hope this kid turns out to be good. I get Elliot Eliason vibes from him for some strange reason.
 
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