Joining a team mid-season is not an easy task for any athlete to accomplish, but sometimes, it may be the necessary thing to do.
In Anna Thompson’s case, the transition into Plattsburgh State’s women’s basketball team was nearly seamless, and was a decision that had been brewing on the backburner for quite some time.
“I think the transition was almost flawless, as good as it could have gone,” Thompson said. “It was definitely hard coming in midway. Jumping in like that could have disrupted a lot for this team, but I felt very welcomed from the start.”
Thompson transferred over from Concordia College, a Division II basketball program, where she played 21 total games for the Clippers before becoming a Cardinal her sophomore season.
“Plattsburgh had actually recruited me when I was in high school,” she said. “I was stuck between PSUC and Concordia, but it essentially came down to money. So, when they said full ride, my eyes widened.”
Thompson took a slight detour before realizing she belonged here in the Cardinal Country.
“I was a high school senior with big dreams, to play division II and to get a full ride,” Thompson said. “I ended up leaving after my freshman year and did a semester at my community college, which led me to come here, where I should have been the whole time.”
Making that decision took a lot of time for Thompson because it would be impactful on her career and to the ones who helped her get to where she was.
“It was so hard because I was so assimilated to the system over there, but it was a decision that I pondered for a long time,” she said. “I felt like I was disappointing myself and my father, and all the coaches that put hard work into me. I decided I needed to do what made me happy.”
Thompson is only a junior, but being that there are no seniors on the team this year, her leadership qualities are even more important now to guide the young club in the right direction.
“Everybody has responded really well to her being a leader,” fellow junior teammate Bella DePasquale said. “She’s able to keep us organized and calm the game down when we need it. She puts 100 percent into everything she does and has cared from the second she got here.”
Thompson and DePasquale are the only juniors on the roster this year, making them the oldest on the team. Since Thompson’s arrival, the two have formed a tight friendship off the court, which has abled them to perform well together in games and during practices as well.
“Right off the bat, we started to get along,” DePasquale said. “Being able to talk basketball in a different setting, rather than in that moment during game or in practice, is helpful.”
The Cards have lost their first three games of the young season, but that doesn’t mean the team has stopped believing in what they would like to accomplish this season.
“We want to make a run in the SUNYACs,” Thompson said. “My number one goal in practice is, ‘how can I make somebody better?’ because it’s all about being a great teammate.”
Thompson credits her teammates as being her fuel throughout each game and is optimistic about where the team is headed.
“One through 16, everybody has an important role on the team,” she said. “I always say, ‘the bench is what keeps me alive,’ because my teammates having my back is what keeps me going, because without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.”
The passion and devotion to the game of basketball has always been part of Thompson. From learning the ins-and-outs to the game at a young age, it has developed her into being a vocal and prominent leader for whatever team she laces up for.
“It’s just all about respect,” she said. “I come from a basketball background, and I’ve played under really great coaches, which has given me a lot of knowledge to the game. But as long as you have that mutual respect, it doesn’t matter if you’re a new voice on a team, everybody has something to contribute.”
In her first season at PSUC, Thompson has already solidified a role as one of the leading ball handlers on the court. Looking forward, the Cards will continue to feed off the excitement and energy she brings day-in and day-out.
“Her leadership on the court is definitely going to help us win a lot of games,” DePasquale said. “Her being so vocal has helped me want to be more of a leader myself, so having her all year I think we’ll be able to get a lot done.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at firstname.lastname@example.org