Roaring Fork’s Thompson to play basketball at Metro State in Denver | AspenTimes.com

Roaring Fork’s Thompson to play basketball at Metro State in Denver

Joshua Carney
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Roaring Fork's Justin Thompson signs his letter of intent to Metropolitan State University of Denver on Tuesday inside Roaring Fork High School's gymnasium, as his father, Brad, and mother, Karen, sit by his side.

Following an impressive senior season on the hardwood for Roaring Fork High School, Justin Thompson will continue his basketball career at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Thompson, surrounded by his mother, Karen, and father, Brad, held a signing ceremony inside Roaring Fork's gymnasium Tuesday, officially securing a spot with the Roadrunners' basketball program.

Thompson will redshirt his first year, allowing him to get stronger in the weight room, while also adjusting to life as a collegiate basketball player at the school that was his first choice all along.

"It was going to be a tough decision at first, if I wanted to just go to school, run track, or play basketball," Thompson said. "But once Metro State said they wanted me for basketball, I knew it was going to be an easy decision, because I just knew that that's where I wanted to go and wanted to be part of their program."

As a senior at Roaring Fork, Thompson earned the co-player of the year award in the 3A Western Slope League, and a Colorado High School Activities Association second team all-state honor after averaging 19.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game for the 19-4 (8-1 3A WSL) Rams, who reached the 3A state playoffs before bowing out in the first round.

Now, Thompson will join the Roadrunners as the only player from the Western Slope, and will be just the third player from Colorado under coach Michael Bahl. During the 2017-18 season, the NCAA Division II Roadrunners went 15-14 (14-8 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference).

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"The head coach said he sees my game at this point as just barely peaking, so he wants me to redshirt. He said with the developmental program there, they can get me to where I want to be, so I'm excited to get going," Thompson said. "When I did my workout with them, it really opened my eyes as to what college basketball really is. Now, I don't have to jump in right away and start playing. I can put in the work I have to for a year and see where my game ends up."

During his time at Metro State, Thompson plans on studying exercise science in pursuit of becoming a physical therapist after graduation.

While at Roaring Fork, Thompson originally had thoughts of being an athletic trainer, but as he moved closer and closer to graduation, he re-calibrated his focus on studying physical therapy.

Following his time at Metro State, he wants to attend a doctorate school to hone in on becoming a physical therapist.

"For the longest time, I wanted to be an athletic trainer, but then I saw that the opportunities just aren't there," Thompson said. "I decided after that, physical therapy was the route that I really wanted to go."

jcarney@postindependent.com