Newly hired Cape Henlopen boys’ basketball coach Shemik Thompson held a meeting with prospective players and their families July 1 in the high school theater. Thompson, a 2007 Cape alumnus and basketball standout who was named to the position June 13, spoke to 40 or so people – maybe half of them athletes – about his vision for the program.
“My primary focus for the young men coming through the program ... is on the court, we’re driven, we work hard, and we fight every possession,” Thompson said. “Off the court, we’re great members of the community, we’re great members of the school, and we hold ourselves accountable for our actions and the actions of our teammates.”
Thompson promised an up-tempo playing style predicated on ball movement and hard-nosed defense.
“I wanna build a program that kids wanna play for,” Thompson said. “I want it to be fun. I have set defenses, but not a set offense. It’ll probably be faster than what these kids are used to playing. When I say a fun style, it’s everyone being involved, everyone executing together. I don’t believe that if you’re a big guy, you should only sit on the block and screen or only rebound. I don’t believe that if you can shoot, you can only play two minutes here and two minutes there. I think it’s my job as a coach to evaluate our players and put them in a position to score. I do put extra focus on defense.”
Thompson, an all-state selection at Cape who went on to score more than 1,300 career points as a point guard at Central Connecticut State, now works as a lawyer in Charlotte, N.C. He recently opened his own practice, Thompson Law, but couldn’t resist the chance to take the helm of a storied Vikings program.
“My coach at Cape, coach [Dwight] Tingle, always said, ‘Give back,’” Thompson said. “To come back and be in a position to run this program and build off of prior players and coaching legacies is a real honor for me. I’m really excited. I don’t come back until September, but I wish it was today.”
Thompson will return to his Charlotte law office until early September and plans to sit for the Delaware bar exam later this month. Cape basketball prospects will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of open gym sessions until his return.
Thompson also made an all-call to any area coaches, nutritionists and weightlifting specialists willing to lend their time and energy to the cause.
A young Cape squad went 8-12 last season and missed the state tournament for the first time in at least a decade, but the Vikings likely return four starters in Sh’Kai Chandler, Kris Rushin, Jo Jo Kirby and Ja’Vaughn Burton. Cape will open its season Dec. 6 against Polytech.