Trevor Thompson talks “bittersweet” Final Four target against Roel Moors

2024-04-16T12:00:23+00:00 2024-04-16T22:29:13+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

16/Apr/24 12:00

Facing his former head coach in the Basketball Champions League Quarter-Finals, Trevor Thompson commented on going through Roel Moors to reach the Final Four

By Cesare Milanti /

Son of former baseball player Ryan Thompson, Trevor definitely knows what hitting a home run means. Swinging the ball in Bonn’s Telekom Done from the tip-off in tonight’s decisive do-or-die Game 3 in the Basketball Champions League Quarter-Finals, he hopes to move the bat the right way.

After losing on the road in Germany, Peristeri is back on track after demolishing last year’s champions by 28 points (90-62), hoping to get the job done to reach UCAM Murcia and Unicaja Malaga – waiting for tomorrow’s decisive clash between Tenerife and Tofas Bursa – in Belgrade’s Final Four.

On the opposing end, Trevor Thompson has found a familiar face. After going undrafted and playing 38 games in the 2017-18 G-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors, he moved overseas the following season. He stopped by first in Antibes and then in Antwerp, wanted by Roel Moors at the Giants.

Already having the BCL Final Four experience

Belgian basketball was vibing in the Spring of 2019. The Women’s national team, dragged by recent six-time EuroLeague winner Emma Meesseman, was coming off a 4th place in the World Cup, about to shine in EuroBasket as well, while Antwerp was chosen to host that year’s Basketball Champions League Final Four.

The coach who’s now on Telekom Baskets Bonn’s bench was the reason why the Belgian club had such a successful run in 2018-19, with Trevor Thompson joining the team in late January 2019. “I came to the team late because I was in France, I had some stuff happening. Once I joined the team, I was with my ex-college teammate Je’Sean Tate, who’s now with the Houston Rockets, the center told Eurohoops.

Playing time wasn’t ideal, but he didn’t really care. “I got to the team, I was fit in for almost two months and I just wanted to play, no matter what. I didn’t care what my role was, I went in there to practice hard. I accepted my role of giving the spark-plug to the team; Je’Sean [Tate] was also coming off the bench”, Trevor Thompson then continued commenting.

His relationship with Roel Moors was one to remember. “It is similar to the relationship I have with Billy [Vassilis Spanoulis] here. We got along really well. Coach spent a lot of time with me, we played 1-on-1 before and after practice”, he revealed. “He would win some games, I would win some. But if you were to watch it from a distance, you may have thought we were hating each other because we were going full throttle to just get the win”, the 28-year-old went on joking.

Despite averaging only 5.1 minutes per game with 2.1 points scored, he grew a lot. “I always appreciated that. He definitely knew what I was capable of because he would see what I was doing in practice. That team was probably one of the closest teams I’ve ever played on. It was unfortunate we didn’t win it. We thought we were, but we lost to Tenerife. It was an amazing year”, he added by saying he still keeps “in contact with a lot of his former teammates”, including potential Final Four opponent Tyler Kalinoski.

Basketball gods have now put Trevor Thompson back against his former head coach, in a new role and environment, five years later. “I take this whole situation of getting to face him again as a life coming around full circle. Back then I didn’t have a dominant role, but now that I have a chance to get to the Final Four through him it makes it bittersweet, giving me an extra motivation to get the job done”, he said by also revealing his coaching style hasn’t drastically changed in this five-year span.

“A lot of plays he runs are similar to the plays we ran. The only difference was that we had big targets at the rim with me and Ismael [Bako]. [Thomas] Kennedy is a really good target but it’s a little bit different when you’re two 7-footers. How they played the first time we faced them, we weren’t ourselves. That whole week living up until the next game was “Play our brand of basketball, do what we need to do”. It wasn’t anything they switched up with how they played, it was more us focusing on our tangibles, what got us here in the first place”, he commented about Peristeri’s mentality change.


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Un post condiviso da Trevor Thompson (@trevbeballin32)

Witnessing greatness alongside Vassilis Spanoulis

After that season in Antwerp, Trevor Thompson began a European tour to climb his way back to the Basketball Champions League. Pieno žvaigždės Pasvalys in Lithuania, Tuři Svitavy in Czech Republic, Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen in Belgium (again), Polski Cukier Toruń in Poland, KK Zadar in Croatia, and Givova Scafati in Italy.

His return to the European competition came with a call coming from Athens, where on the other end of the line there was Vassilis Spanoulis. “Peristeri has been a breath of fresh air, the organization is very very well-ran. The coaching staff is amazing, my teammates have been great, and Athens is a beautiful city”, he first commented on joining the yellow-and-blue Greek side.

As months passed by, both the team’s and his personal performances grew, as proved by the comeback from 0-3 to 3-3 in the Round of 16, surprisingly eliminating Hapoel Jerusalem. “We started off the season pretty slow, I started off the season not at my best but things ended up working out. I’ve really enjoyed this season. Billy has really taught me a lot, I’ve grown a lot under him and I know I still have room to grow”, the American center and former Ohio State player said.

At the end of the day, Trevor Thompson decided to come to Athens mainly for him, and “one of the biggest reasons” why he’s having one of his best personal seasons is “because of the advice” coming from the living legend. “Being so hard on me every single day, pushing me to reach the level he believes and I believe I can play at”, he said commenting on his individual performances, almost averaging a double-double in the Basketball Champions League with 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

His growth mainly relies on Vassilis Spanoulis, once again. “This is definitely been one of my best seasons, I’ve had a change of mindset and perspective. I used to think doing it in a certain way, was the right way. Now that I have my coach showing me what the real and only way is to be great, it’s helped me out a lot”, he first praised the current Greek national team’s head coach.

“He has been around the greatest coaches in Europe, and he’s one of the greatest winners in European history. There’s no secret to that: it’s one way, you have to work hard every single day, be focused every single day, and give your best. His demand and his expectations of me, how to be every day, has shaped me into the player I’m showing on the court right now”, he finally said about Peristeri’s leader.


With the BCL Final Four ahead, they set their eyes on the prize. “The season has definitely been a great season, we’ve accomplished our goals. We still have one more: win the championship. At the beginning of the season, he was always telling us it’s not about us telling people what our goals are, we know what our goals are. We need to work hard every day and it’s gonna show, giving us what we want. That’s been the model”, he said before facing Telekom Baskets Bonn.

Stopping by at the EurohooPOD before the start of the BCL Quarter-Finals, Joe Ragland talked highly of Peristeri’s practices. Trevor Thompson can’t do anything but agree. “Our practices are harder than the games. With our coach being the player he was when he was playing, now that he’s a coach it’s the same exact mentality and intensity. Our practices are very detailed, they’re not super long but we go 100%. We get it, get our work in and we go. We are super-locked in every day in practice. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. Honestly, when we’re playing the last-placed team in the Greek league it treats it like we’re playing Olympiacos or Panathinaikos, he said about Kill Bill’s approach.

“Our biggest thing is our coach making a really good point. He likes to talk about how it’s not about X’s and O’s, it’s about who’s gonna do it. At the end of the day, you have to go out there and execute. You can draw X’s and O’s, try a scheme, force players this or that way, but what he always tells us is to go out there and play hard. Another thing he pushes on to us is the importance of space and cutting, a lot of selfless things that don’t really contribute to the stat sheet, but they contribute to the team. That’s what he really makes us focus on. Team, team, team. How can I help the team? It definitely shows when we’re on the court and we play as a team”, Trevor Thompson added.

Moreover, he has managed to learn from high-level veterans in the past two seasons. “It’s been an honor playing with David [Logan] and Joe [Ragland], I’ve learned a lot from both of them. You take a lot of notes, you watch and see their habits, the things they do to maintain their body and their approach to the game, how they are day to day”, he commented on David Logan, with whom he was last year in Scafati, and Joe Ragland, his current pick-and-roll partner.

“They’re different players, David [Logan] is probably one of the greatest scorers I’ve ever played in my entire career; some of the shots and how hot he could get last season it was unbelievable. And Joe [Ragland], his ability to pick apart the defense is probably the only person I’ve ever seen better than him at that is my best friend, D’Angelo Russell. Plating with both of them, I’ve learned a lot and it’s definitely matured my game, helped me become better”, he finally said about two established veterans.


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Un post condiviso da Trevor Thompson (@trevbeballin32)

PHOTO CREDIT: Basketball Champions League

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