Towson men’s basketball junior Charles Thompson recently chatted with PressBox about what he learned from his father and former high-level heavyweight boxer Tony Thompson, how his dad helped fuel his basketball career and more. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Charles Thompson averaged 9.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game last year while leading the team in total rebounds (116), blocks (28) and steals (17). He earned a spot on the Colonial Athletic Association’s All-Defensive Team.

PressBox: How did you become interested in basketball?
Charles Thompson: Funny enough, I was actually a big football player at first. Me and my dad, we loved football. My dad was actually a professional boxer. He always wanted me to do anything but boxing, but first that was football. Eventually I got hooked up with this AAU program Team Takeover and ever since then I was hooked on basketball.

PB: How did your father help fuel you as a competitive athlete growing up? What about your seven siblings?
CT: That gave me all the motivation I needed. My father basically told me what it takes to be a professional athlete. … Being the youngest, naturally you’re going to be worse than your siblings at certain things, so basically [I] wanted to grow up quick and be like my older siblings.

PB: What memories do you have of your dad’s boxing career? What sticks out the most to you?
CT: Just the level of impact he had overseas. People overseas would see my dad and recognize him automatically and be like, “Yo, you’re Tony Thompson!” and just be so enthralled and amazed with him. I’ve always wanted that type of impact on people. Wherever I go, I try to make sure I have that type of impact that my dad had.

PB: Why did you choose to come to Towson?
CT: Coach [Pat] Skerry recruited me from Day 1. He just showed me that he wanted me here. He went to most of my games, HoopGroup events, family events. Pat Skerry was everywhere at all my games and stuff. I remember something Ja Morant’s dad said: “Don’t go where you want to go. Go where you’re wanted.” That really stuck with me. Skerry showed me that he wanted me, so here I am.

PB: What’s your favorite memory at Towson so far?
CT: I think we lost this game actually, but it was Towson vs. [College of Charleston] my freshman. The AD, [Tim Leonard], said if we got 1,200 students there then he would shave his head bald. There were so many student-athletes there. There were so many students. It was just a very lively crowd. … It was just amazing being there even though we had lost the game, just the experience of it all.

PB: What’s your favorite thing about Towson University and the town?
CT: I’d say the people. The people are really nice, energetic, friendly. Everybody gets along pretty much from my perspective. It’s just a great place to be.

PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
CT: After me, myself and I being my best friend, it’s got to be probably Jason [Gibson]. Me and Jason have known each other since we were 15. We played on the same AAU team. I remember one time where we were walking with one of our other friends. … He had said something, and then me and Jason responded with the same thing at the same time instantly without even thinking about it. That just shows how close we are.

PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your college career?
CT: Probably Nakye Sanders. He was a senior when I was a freshman. He was in the starting role, which is where I wanted to get to eventually. I just looked at how he worked day to day and try to work harder than [even] he would.

PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
CT: You’re probably not going to get what you want or what you think you deserve. I don’t think really anybody does. There are a rare few who gets everything they want out of a season. I think if you’re a freshman or a younger player in general, just try to help the team as much as you can even if you’re not the guy, you’re coming off the bench, even if you don’t play. Take this year, develop, just try to help the team as much as you can in any way, shape or form possible. Be a star in your role.

PB: What are your goals for after basketball, whenever it ends?
CT: Hopefully I get to play professionally, but after [that], I would like to become an athletic director or be a coach somewhere, stick around the game if I can. I love sports in general. I just love being around it. I love playing basketball. I feel like I could be a pretty good coach. I just want to see how far I can take it.

Photo Credit: Lexi Thompson/Towson Athletics

Issue 271: October/November 2021

Luke Jackson

See all posts by Luke Jackson. Follow Luke Jackson on Twitter at @luke_jackson10