Chris Bloxom was born and raised in Texas. He didn’t know anything about lacrosse.
After hanging with the Thompson trio at the University at Albany, not only does the ESPN producer have a greater understanding of the sport, but a deep appreciation of the Thompsons.
Brothers Miles and Lyle Thompson and cousin Ty Thompson will be the focus of the “SC Featured” segment on Sunday’s “SportsCenter” on ESPN. The feature will debut during the 10 a.m. “SportsCenter,” and re-air throughout the day on ESPNEWS and later Sunday night on ESPN.
The genesis for the feature on the Thompsons and their Native American heritage was a story about them in The New York Times and why they chose to attend UAlbany instead of Syracuse. At first, Bloxom didn’t seem interested.
“Somebody sent it my way, and I’m not quite feeling this story,” Bloxom said Thursday. “And then a couple of a little snippets in there [about] playing the game that their ancestors created. You get into more of a history of the sport. Once I started seeing those angles of it, I really got in. That’s what piqued my interest.”
Bloxom first met the Thompsons the day before the Great Danes’ game at Johns Hopkins on April 4. They hit it off right away, along with the parents of the Thompsons.
“Building relationships off the top is going to be key,” Bloxom said. “Building that trust that you’re going to tell that story accurately and the right way.”
Bloxom then spent two days at UAlbany conducted interviews with the Thompsons and coach Scott Marr, and filming them around campus. He also went to where they live — Lyle and Miles live in Onandaga Nation, while Ty is from Mohawk Nation.
The feature will last about 10 minutes. Bloxom was still editing the piece, and he said it should be done by today.
Bloxom came away with a healthy respect for the Thompsons.
“Just spending time with them, they’re genuine people,” Bloxom said. “Their priorities are really in line. I don’t want to say they’re different than other people, but they have a very good grasp of where they want to be and who they want to be as people, which is kind of interesting for someone so young. They want to adhere to their traditions, and they have. They want to keep their ways. I guess all their traditional values are so important to them and making sure that they stay on that path was really impressive.”
Marr in studio
Marr will be a studio analyst for ESPN2’s NCAA lacrosse tournament semifinals today.
He will join studio host Anish Shroff and analyst Ryan Flanagan for the games. Duke faces Denver at 1 p.m. Notre Dame, which rallied from a 12-7 deficit to beat the Great Danes, 14-13, in overtime last Saturday, will face Maryland at 3:30.
Lyle Thompson was named the Division I Player of the Year and Outstanding Attackmen by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Friday.
The junior, who is also a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, scored a Division I-record 128 points for the Great Danes, becoming the first player in Division I history to have back-to-back 100-point seasons.