Jason Thompson dishes on the JT Elite Basketball Camp, the team’s new additions and much more.
What’s up, Kings fans? I hope you’re having a great summer.
I’m excited to announce I’ll be hosting the first annual JT Elite Basketball Camp in Sacramento Aug. 5-9 at The Rancho Cordova Event Center. Boys and girls from 3rd to 12th grade will participate in co-ed divisions and have a chance to learn all kinds of basketball fundamentals.
We’re going to work on various skills, including ball-handling, shooting and one-on-one moves. In addition, we’ll provide healthy meals, water and Gatorade to campers and teach them about the importance of nutrition.
All proceeds will go to The Jason Thompson Foundation, which is supported by the American Heart Association. You can find more details on JTEliteBasketballCamp.com and register by emailing JTEliteBasketballCamp@gmail.com. Also, check out the camp’s Instagram account, which will have plenty of info and fun photos.
Summer League Impressions
I spent the past few weeks in Las Vegas checking out Summer League action, where I not only had the chance to support some of my young Kings teammates, but also my brother, Ryan, who played for the Washington Wizards’ squad.
I played in Summer League my first two years in the League, so I know how it feels to step out on the court for the first time as an NBA player. You have a lot of eyes on you in the stands and many fans are also watching you on NBA TV. Even though the contests don’t count, they can help you develop confidence and get a feel for the pro game.
I think we got a steal in Ben McLemore, who’s a very talented, athletic player who can really shoot the ball and play multiple positions. I think we’re all excited about his addition to the team.
Ray McCallum – who was an All-American and played for his father at the University of Detroit – is also a very skilled player with a high basketball IQ who can step in and help us.
Both players had some streaky games during Summer League – which is to be expected in their first NBA go-around – but overall, they did really well and gained valuable experience that will help them going forward. The more comfortable they get now, the easier the game will be once we get closer to the regular season.
While I was in Vegas, I also had the chance to work out with several of our new coaches – Coach Malone, Coach Jent and Coach Brown – whom I’d previously met in California over Fourth of July Weekend. It was great to see Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette come out, as well, as we had very productive workouts and learned some new offensive and defensive sets.
Throughout the summer, I’ve been working out twice a day on my own, making sure to stay focused by getting in lifting, cardio, lower- and upper-body sessions. I’ve also worked on extending my range out to the three-point line. All in all, I’m trying to improve my game, make myself more versatile and just be a tougher player to guard for other teams.
I’m excited about our veteran offseason pickups – Greivis Vasquez, Carl Landry and Luc Mbah a Moute – who are going to come in and make a big impact.
Greivis is coming off a great year – he’s a pass-first point guard who has a big body and can really shoot the ball. Since Carl previously played in Sacramento, it should be an easy transition for him. He’s an undersized big man, but he has a nice touch on his shot and can get in the paint, as well. Luc is a force on the defensive end and will bring a lot of energy to the team.
Trades are, of course, a part of the NBA. I enjoyed playing alongside Tyreke, who’s a good friend of mine – we’re both originally from the same area. I congratulated him on signing his new contract and wished him the best of luck with the Pelicans.
Watching last month’s NBA Draft took me back to my own Draft experience on June 26, 2008 – one of the most memorable nights of my entire life. Rather than go to New York that evening, I invited family and friends to my house to watch the Draft on TV. I was projected to go anywhere from No. 12 to 30, and it was a dream come true when I was selected by Sacramento. I’ll remember that day for as long as I live, and it’s a blessing to still be with the team and have the opportunity to sign my second contract.
Thank you to all the loyal Kings fans who fought so hard to keep the team here in Sacramento. You deserve it! I’m glad we’re staying and we have a bright future ahead of us.