|At 6-7, Thompson is easy Owl to spot.|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
Dec. 21, 2006 - YANTIS - Jordan Thompson stands out on the basketball court. Being at least five inches taller than anyone else on the team will do that.
At 6-7, Thompson is a head taller than any other Yantis Owl, which makes his job definition pretty clear.
"His main jobs are rebounding and blocking shots, and that's what we expect from him," Yantis head coach Larry Tucker said. "Jordan's been in the program since he got here. He's 6-foot-7, and he does a good job for us under the basket."
Thompson is also the team's only senior. That's quite a change from the last couple of years when the Owls graduated 21 seniors off those two teams.
"It's good for the future," said Tucker in his first year as head coach. "In the past couple of years, we didn't have much room on the varsity for anyone but seniors. Now, we're able to give the younger kids some varsity experience and let them build on that."
Of course, that puts the senior leadership mantle on Thompson, who is in his first year on the varsity. Injuries, including a surgery to keep his left shoulder from popping out of place, have taken up parts of two high school seasons.
But, he has persevered and is now the starting center for a team that has aspirations on the playoffs in the newly-configured District 18-A, Div. I. The Owls moved up to the big-school Class A division at the last re-districting and were put into a conference with more natural rivals Cumby, Union Hill, Quinlan Boles and North Hopkins.
"It's kind of tough being the only senior because we're a young team," Thompson said. "But, the younger guys are good and are getting better. I think we'll be a playoff team this year."
Thompson will be doing his part to get them there.
"They want me to swat everything that comes my way and to rebound," he explained. "I need to have an impact on defense for us to be successful."
Tucker said Thompson's attitude and willingness to contribute to the team in any aspect has been invaluable.
"He's a smart kid, good in school, and has caught on to what we want," the coach said. "He's been hurt some and that kept him out of action a couple of years, but I think he's healthy now and is contributing."