thompson pg 4 1-19-23

Duane Thompson. Photo by Thomas Netzer

keeps energy up
It was kind of ironic actually.
As outgoing (and boisterous, energetic, and loud) as Duane Thompson is, the first half of his basketball season at Putnam Science Academy fell…flat.
But the second semester started last week, and with it, a chance for Thompson to right his ship and lead the Mustangs to do special things, as coach Tom Espinosa is fond of saying. Thompson got off on the right foot last Wednesday, scoring 14 points to go with four assists, two steals, and one charge drawn, in a semester-opening 118-81 win over Redemption Christian Academy.
“One thing we lack with this time sometimes is leadership and a vocal leader, talking and energy,” Espinosa said. “That’s something that Duane brings. He’s yelling and screaming like a maniac before the game. He’s not the quickest or most athletic guy on the team but he takes charges, dives on the floor. He claps, he screams, he has energy. He goes out there to make winning plays. You need guys like that. I think he changes our structure.”
Last season was a learning experience for Thompson, as he was an end-of-the-bench player on the team that went 38-0 enroute to a national championship. After a great summer on the EYBL circuit and a terrific preseason back on campus, Thompson had everyone’s eye. But he missed the first two games of the regular season, then battled his confidence, then missed five games with a shoulder injury.
“When he was gone, it was tough to keep the energy up all the time,” said teammate Will Lovings-Watts, who had a game-high 19 points in the win over Redemption. “Duane is one of those kids, he always has energy. Practice, in the dorms, game…he’s always yelling. He’s great to have on your team.”
“That’s just me, Duane Thompson. Everywhere I go, that’s how I am. Thank my mom, Tabitha,” Thompson said with a laugh. “At the beginning of the year, I knew there had to be someone to do it. I’m comfortable with that. The guys last year showed me. Arturo Dean, Barry Evans, Des Claude, DayDay Gittens. They brought it every day and they showed me the path. As someone who has been here, and who has that kind of personality, I’m going to continue that path. It’s important. But it can be hard sometimes because I hold myself to a high standard. So having a good mind, even when things aren’t going well for me individually, it can be challenging.”
Such was the case this past weekend, when Thompson was held to two points in Friday’s 75-74 win over Vermont Academy. Mouhamed Dioubate led the way with 13 points and 16 rebounds while Ben Ahmed added 18 points and eight boards. Dioubate (13 points, five rebounds) and Ahmed (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Blake Barkley (13 points, seven rebounds) paced the Mustangs Sunday night, but it wasn’t enough as they lost 67-63 to Bradford Christian Academy. PSA fell to 15-3 with the loss.
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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