Thomson surpasses 1,000-point mark during junior campaign with Red Raiders

Keyport High School boys basketball DJ Thomson celebrates reaching 1,000 career points with his parents and coaches during a game played against Koinonia on Feb. 22 in Keyport. PHOTO COURTESY OF KEYPORT HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT
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Keyport High School boys basketball DJ Thomson celebrates reaching 1,000 career points with his parents and coaches during a game played against Koinonia on Feb. 22 in Keyport. PHOTO COURTESY OF KEYPORT HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT

KEYPORT – D.J. Thomson is writing his own story on the basketball court at Keyport High School and continuing the success his brothers Alex, Connor and Bryan had before him when they played for the Red Raiders.

All three of Thomson’s older brothers went on to play college football. They also played basketball during their scholastic days at Keyport.

Thomson, who is a junior, etched his name in the Keyport record book on Feb. 22 when he surpassed 1,000 career points during a 62-51 victory against Koinonia Academy of Plainfield.

Needing 12 points to reach 1,000, Thomson achieved the milestone with a slam dunk on Keyport’s first possession of the fourth quarter, just like his brother Alex did when he scored his 1,000th point. Thomson finished with 17 points in the victory.

“My brother Alex got his 1,000th point on a dunk and I wanted to get mine on a dunk, too,” Thomson said. “It was a sigh of relief when I got it. I didn’t score during the third quarter because I wanted to get it on a dunk and finally on the first possession of the fourth quarter I got it. It felt great. It was a very special night for me.”

During a basketball season that was limited because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Thomson scored 256 points in 12 games for the Red Raiders (9-3). He scored in double digits in every game and averaged 21.3 ppg.

During his sophomore season, Thomson scored 492 points in 23 games (21.4 ppg.). As a freshman, he scored 323 points. Thomson will begin his senior season with 1,071 career points.

The success is no surprise to Coach Phil Recco, who has coached all four Thomson brothers on the hardwood.

Recco remembers when D.J. came to high school practices at the age of 6 and 7 and challenged the players to three-point field goal shooting contests. The coach said the youngster gave the older players all they could handle.

Thomson said he always tried to get involved in any drills the team was doing at practice and to show off his talents.

“You could tell from Day 1 that D.J. was the real deal,” Recco said. “He puts in a lot of work year-round in the off-season to improve his game. It took him just eight games into his junior year to reach 1,000 points. He is a special player and he has helped the school and our program in many ways for three years.”

Thomson has shown an all-around game on the court. During the 2019-20 season, he led Keyport in rebounds (141) and assists (75).

In 2021, Thomson led the team with 68 rebounds. On the defensive end of the floor he made 28 steals to pace the Red Raiders.

As Thomson sets his sights on playing basketball in college, he is also setting team and personal goals for the 2021-22 season.

He said he believes Keyport will have a good chance to win a state sectional tournament title and possibly the Group 1 state title. He said he wants to help lead the Red Raiders to at least a quarterfinal berth in the Shore Conference Tournament.

His coach, Recco, said, “We are hoping for big things next year.”

On a personal level, Thomson wants to surpass his brother Alex’s 1,380 career points. He said he is thankful for the tutelage his brothers have passed down to him.

Calling himself a mix of all of his brothers when he hits the basketball court and the football field, Thomson said he learned a lot by watching his brothers have success in athletics. He credits their drive and motivation with helping him strive to be the best he can be in anything he does.

Just as his brothers did at Keyport, Thomson is in the process of creating his own legacy at the school.

“My older brothers were all-stars here,” he said. “They pushed me the hardest out of anyone just like my parents did because they knew I could be the best.”