Since the fifth grade, K-State redshirt freshman Kelly Thomson admired and has been a part of K-State’s basketball program. Growing up in Riley County, Thomson said she was always of fan of K-State.
Thompson made quite the name for herself during her time at Riley County High School, especially during her final two years. In her junior season, she led Riley County to a 21-3 record while averaging a little over 15 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out three assists per game. Thomson was named the Flint Hills Player of the Year, and earned first team All-State honors.
Thomson began her senior season as one of the Sporting News High School All-American honorable mention selections. That season she improved her scoring average to a little over 17 points per game, while maintaining her rebounding and assists.
Thomson was a very decorated athlete at Riley County, and ended her career with the school record for three point field goals made and free throw percentage. By scoring over 1,200 points, Thomson cemented her name in school history as she now ranks second all-time in that category. The talented senior raked in numerous accolades her senior year as she was named All-State All-Classes first team, All-State first team, All-Flint Hills first team, All-Mideast first team and participated in the KBCA All-Star game.
Many colleges recruited Thomson, but she ultimately decided to remain close to home at K-State. In her freshman year, she was expecting to see quite a bit of playing time and contribute with her deadly shot from beyond the three point arc. Those expectations were ultimately cut short due to her injury in the team’s first practices in early October. She suffered a season-ending ACL injury that led to her redshirting for the year. Her teammate, senior forward Chantay Caron, hated to see her hardworking teammate miss time.
“That was not very fun, none of our injuries were for that matter,” Caron said. “Last year, we were planning on having two really good three point shooters, and then when that happened it was kind of downhill from there figuring out who was going to play where.”
Coming back off an injury like that takes an immense amount of hard work and patience. Watching helplessly from the sidelines all season is a very hard task for anyone, let alone an incoming freshman. Thomson said she’s eager to be able to get back on the court.
“I am very nervous, anxious, excited, all those emotions bundled up in one for this first game,” Thomson said. “It’s going to be an awesome experience just being able to run out of the tunnel in Bramlage finally. Seeing all these fans there excited for the season, its going to be an awesome experience and I can’t wait.”
Sitting out a season means losing out on a year of experience, which is crucial for an incoming freshman to gain. Instead of moping around and feeling sorry for herself, Thomson made the most out of her injury. What she lost in experience, she gained in leadership. Unable to perform, she was able to see what it takes from a leadership standpoint to compete at the collegiate level.
“I definitely gained a lot of perspective, just on and off the court on how to be a leader without having to be out there,” Thomson said. “Really show the younger girls what it means to work hard, put the time in and not complain.”
This being Thomson’s first season playing as a Wildcat, shesaid she has very high hopes for the potential of the team. Due to the team switching to a more post-oriented offense, the Wildcats will rely on her outside shooting to open things up for the forwards. Although this is a very young team, that has not changed Thomson’s expectations.
“I’m expecting us to have a very good and successful season,” Thomson said. “We have so many new faces this year, and its going to be very exciting for our fans to come out and watch.”
Not only is Thomson an excellent role model on the court, but she is also a standout student. She is now a two-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipient. Although basketball is her love, Thompson said school is a very important part of her life too.
“Its such an amazing honor,” Thomson said. “It’s just another thing showing you need to not only be a leader on the court, but off the court as well. Putting in the hours in school, studies and all that other stuff is a big deal to me.”