Rider University 2010 graduate Ryan Thompson has signed a professional basketball contract to play in Italy.
Thomson spent the last year playing in the NBA Development League for the Utah Flash.
"This is a great opportunity for Ryan," said Rider head coach Tommy Dempsey. "His goal is still to play in the NBA but with all of the uncertainty right now with the lockout I think this is the best move for Ryan. "
Thompson will be the second American to play for Leonessa Brescia. The guard-forward will start his rookie career in Italy with the team newly promoted in Legadue.
"Italy is a beautiful country and basketball in Italy is played at a very high level," Dempsey said. "We wish him the best."
A 6'6" point guard, Thompson (Mt. Laurel/Lenape High) scored a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference-high 566 points as a senior in 2009-10, earning First Team All-MAAC, First Team All-MET, Second Team All-District 1 and Mid-Major All-America honors.
In four years at Rider Thompson led the Broncs to 75 wins. He compiled 1,879 career points, fourth highest ever at Rider, 393 career assists, sixth most ever at Rider, and 734 career rebounds, seventh most ever at Rider. He is the only Bronc to rank in the top 10 in all three categories; career points, assists and rebounds.
At the Portsmouth NBA pre-draft camp in 2010 Thompson was the leading scorer (24.0ppg) and was named to the All-Tournament team.
As a senior at Rider Thompson averaged 17.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 36.6 minutes played per game. He made 175 free throws, the most by a Bronc in 44 years (just seven shy of the Rider single-season record set in 1965-66) and shot 82 percent from the foul line, fourth best in the MAAC.
As a junior (2008-09) Thompson led Rider to a 19-win season by ranking second in the MAAC in scoring (18.0), first in minutes played (38.2), second in three-point field goal percentage (.422), seventh in assists (3.3), eighth in field goal percentage (.509), eighth in free throw percentage (.773), 11th in rebounding (6.5) and 11th in three-pointers made (32).
Buona fortuna, Ryan!