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2016 MAC MBB Top 10: #5 James Thompson IV, Eastern Michigan

Sophomore James Thompson after one of the games last season
Kenneth Bailey

Entering the list of our Top Ten Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball players is James Thompson IV of the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Thompson came to the Eagles by way of Parkview Baptist High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While there, he was voted the team’s most valuable player in his junior and senior years. He would find himself receiving state all-team honors three times in his high school career.

James Thompson IV gets his first two points in Division I Basketball
Kenneth Bailey

It wouldn’t take long for him to announce his presence in NCAA Division I basketball. At one minute and seven seconds into his first game at the Convocation Center against Vermont, he slammed the ball into the hoop to score his first points for the Eagles. He used his 6’10” frame to get 11 rebounds in this game. This was almost a harbinger of events later in the season as he made 19 double-doubles last year.

Thompson blocks one of the Miami players
Kenneth Bailey

As the season went on, he would average 14.8 points per game with his season high of 32 coming against Marygrove, this was enough to make him 11th in the MAC in scoring. He led the MAC with 10.7 rebounds/game and his most was 19 rebounds against Kent State. His average would lead the MAC. His MAC leading 64.5% field goal percentage made him pretty accurate with the ball. If there were one knock against him, it would be his tendency to foul out as he did 10 times last season. He blocked an average of 1.4 times per game. He almost got one steal per game.

His presence on the court would earn him MAC Freshman of the Year honors, making him the second Eastern Michigan player to do so. He would also receive Second Team All MAC honors.

With the return of the other veteran Eastern Michigan players, I see no reason why his superlatives can’t become even bigger. I think he can help lead Eastern Michigan to a place they haven’t been to in 19 years, namely the NCAA Tournament via a win in the MAC Championship.