One last homecoming for Thomson
Playing at home in front of family and friends never grows old for visiting athletes.
Former A.N. Myer basketball star Tyler Thomson got to do just that Wednesday night as the Western Mustangs paid a visit to the Bob Davis Gym to battle the Brock Badgers.
The 21-year-old Niagara Falls native played 14 minutes Wednesday night and recorded two points and two rebounds in an 87-84 overtime loss to Brock.
“It is always great to come back and play in Niagara, especially when you are playing Brock and the way the schedule works now,” he said. “Next year we probably won’t get the chance to come down here and play.”
Thomson had plenty of crowd support for Wednesday’s game.
“It is really the same people who have been supporting me all along the way,” he said. “It was great to see my parents, grandparents, uncle, old coaches and I had some old friends out as well. That makes it better when you come down and still have everyone to support you.”
But that being said, he approached the game the same as all the others.
“You have to go into every game with the same mentality,” he said. “You are just looking to win but it is great to have everyone out there and see their support.”
Thomson, who is averaging 2.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game this season, has been with Western since the 2016-17 season, but is only in his third year if eligibility. He missed his entire first year after suffering a high ankle sprain in the first league game, but was able to retain an entire year of eligibility.
“It really tampered with where my career was going at the time but it kind of comes full circle and I am back where I need to be right now with playing and everything,” he said. “The stars are kind of aligned with our season right now. We are having a great year and we are trying to keep that going.”
The business management and organizational studies student, who plans to apply to law school after playing one more year of basketball at Western, has a defined role with the Mustangs. He is an energy guy coming off the bench to provide strong defence and chip in offensively when needed.
“That is the way our team is kind of shaping up this year,” said the former two-time winner of the George Hillesheim Award as the top boys high school basketball player in Niagara Falls. “Everyone kind of has their role and everyone is doing their best to fill their role and do what we need to do as a team.
“That is what is helping us have the success we are having.”
Western came into Wednesday’s game with an 11-3 record, which was second best in Ontario University Athletics action.
Thomson was more of a scorer at A.N. Myer, but his tenacious defence was always his calling card.
“In high school, we played up defence and that’s the way Brad (Western head coach Campbell) wants us to play,” he said. “We are kind of defence first which helps. Get it going in transition and that is our whole ideology. Things will just come from there.”
Thomson has refined his game since arriving at Western.
“The major thing is just getting stronger,” he said. “You are coming in as an 18-year-old playing against guys who are 22 and 23 years old, Now that I am in fourth year, that is one thing that has really developed over time is my strength with the ball and picking guys up full court.”
But that doesn’t mean the 5-foot-10 guard still doesn’t get knocked around on the court. On Wednesday night, he was thumped to the floor on a few rebounding attempts and got rocked by a screen he didn’t see coming.
“It’s tough out there being a small guy but you gotta do what you gotta do.”
Thomson plays anywhere from eight to 25 minutes a game and he had a season-high 12 points in a Nov. 23 game versus Wilfrid Laurier.
He is loving the opportunity to play on a contending team.
“We have our senior guys who are stepping up and playing really well this year and then we have a young group of core guys who have thee years under Brad’s systems now,” he said. “This is, by far, our most mature year, and it probably gives us the best chance to reach our goals.”
That being said, Thomson expects the Mustangs to be excellent again next season.