Welcome home, P.J. Thompson.
After playing professionally for a year over in Denmark the former Boiler is passing up a longer professional playing career in order to come home and get a jump on his coaching career. P.J. had a great season this year, averaging 16.9 points and 4.9 assists for team FOG Naestved in Denmark. He reportedly had some offers to play in some of Europe’s better leagues, but coach Painter called him home per the Lafayette Journal & Courier:
“My agent was really shocked,” Thompson said. “He tried to convince me to keep playing because he thought I could do really well overseas for a long time. But I just thought it was best for my future.”
“If I play until I’m 30 years old overseas, I’m not going to be a 30-year-old GA,” Thompson said. “Not many coaches are going to hire somebody with no previous coaching experience right onto their staff. Instead of finding my way at 30-35 years old, I would rather find my way at 23 under a staff that wanted me. They wanted me really bad, or they wouldn’t have called back.”
It is an interesting move for PJ, especially because his younger brother will also be a freshman this fall. It is obvious that family is important for PJ because I saw him back this past season at a pair of Zionsville games over the holidays. Now he gets to work with his brother and his university while getting a jump on his coaching career.
PJ joins Grady Eifert as our two graduate assistant spots are now filled. The lead assistant is long rumored to be earmarked for Micah Shrewsberry once he is done in the NBA playoffs with the Celtics. PJ is going to make a great coach some day because he was always such a steady player on the court that was in the right place when needed and made great decisions. It is not inconceivable that he could take over for Coach Painter someday down the line.