HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Jason Thompson has been a constant presence at Kings summer league games in Las Vegas. He will return to Sacramento to hold his first youth basketball camp in the region next month.

Kings' Thompson again prepares to battle for minutes

Published: Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 - 3:13 pm

LAS VEGAS – Through multiple head coaches and multiple position battles, Jason Thompson remains as committed to the Kings as ever.

The power forward has been a constant presence at Kings summer league games, taking in the action after his morning workouts.

Entering his sixth season, Thompson is the Kings' longest-tenured player. So far, he likes what he's seen from Michael Malone's coaching staff.

"They're definitely starting with the mindset of working hard, being 110 percent," Thompson said. "They don't take a lot of crap. They're really in tune with the things they are doing. It should be different."

What isn't different for the 6-foot-11 Thompson is competition for playing time.

A year after signing a five-year deal to stay with the Kings, the new front office has added free agent Carl Landry to the mix at power forward.

Patrick Patterson is still on the team. Chuck Hayes can also be used at power forward.

In previous years, other bigs the Kings have brought in included J.J. Hickson, Thomas Robinson and Samuel Dalembert.

But Thompson usually finds his way back into the starting lineup.

"I saw a list of all the guys I've had competition with, and for the most part, I'm the last man standing," he said. "It always motivates me to keep working 10 times harder in the offseason. We'll see what happens. I'm not sure how the rotation is going to be, but it's usually a three big-man rotation, usually with successful teams. We'll see what happens."

Thompson has worked out with Malone and the new coaches in Las Vegas in addition to watching his brother, Ryan, play for Washington's summer league team.

Malone said he's been impressed with Thompson's attitude and the possibility to play him at power forward and center.

The coach said Thompson's size, strength and ability to post up, make a jump shot and defend add a lot to the roster.

"The thing I feel bad about is this will be his sixth year in Sacramento and I'll be his fifth coach," Malone said. "He's had so much change constantly, and my hope is I'll be his coach for a while and he'll be able to settle in to one coach, one philosophy, one style of play. He's a great kid, a high-character kid, and he's really embracing the opportunity and the change we have going on, and hopefully we have great things ahead for him and the team."

Thompson has always been keen on being a part of the local community. With the team finally settled in Sacramento, he will host his first basketball camp in the area.

The camp for boys and girls from grades 3-12 will be Aug. 5-9 at the Rancho Cordova Event Center and is about more than just basketball.

It's run through the Jason Thompson Foundation, which encourages healthy eating habits for youth and young adults.

Thompson's cousin, Tiffany Carroll, died suddenly at age 25 in 2010 from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. HCM is most commonly known as a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

That led Thompson to want to partner with organizations to raise awareness about heart disease among athletes and young people.

Thompson said the camp menu will be tailored to healthy living.

"The meals we're having, it's not just pizza and fried foods," he said. "We're going to make sure kids are eating healthy. We'll have lunches provided for them. Grilled foods, fruits, vegetables, water."

Thompson said the camp still has openings. Information is available at www.jtelitebasketballcamp.com.

NEXT GAME

Summer league

FRIDAY VS. ATLANTA

• Time: 3 p.m.

TV: NBA

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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