Miles Thompson tied an NCAA men’s lacrosse record with 82 goals last season as a senior at the University of Albany, helping him become the co-winner — along with his brother, Lyle — of the Tewaaraton Trophy, college lacrosse’s top honor. Lyle still has one season left in school, but Miles was chosen by the Minnesota Swarm with the No. 3 overall pick in the National Lacrosse League draft. Thompson, a 5-11, 185-pound righthander, also helped the Iroquois National Team win a bronze medal at this summer’s World Lacrosse Championships. He made his Swarm debut Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center against Colorado, but beforehand he chatted with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand:
Q You bring in a lofty set of credentials. Do you feel pressure coming in here after all of your college accomplishments and after being such a high draft pick?
A I wouldn’t say there’s much pressure just because of my style of play. I just want to go out there and leave everything on the field — and not be mad at the outcome.
Q You and Lyle were the first Native Americans to win the Tewaaraton Trophy. What did that mean to you?
A If you watched the video of (the award ceremony), we ended with tears. That shows it right there how happy we were to win that. In our speeches, we showed that it was not just for us but for our people, for our team. It was just an unbelievable feeling and it’s hard to explain.
Q Along with Lyle and your cousin, Ty, you made up the “Thompson Trio” at Albany. Will it be strange playing without them this year?
A I mean, not really because I played this summer (in Major League Lacrosse, an outdoor league) without Lyle. It’s like he’s there playing with me still. He’ll text me before the game and tell me what to do, or he’ll even text me at halftime. So it’s just like he’s still there and we’re still coaching each other, only it’s just him coaching me and I can’t coach him.
Q What about the transition from outdoor lacrosse to the indoor game — how will you have to adjust the way you play and how do your particular strengths translate to the indoor professional game?
A I just know it’s going to be a lot more physical. My stick has to be on pinpoint. I feel like the indoor game fits me a lot better. I’m more of an inside guy, and I like to catch on pressure, and the indoor game is in a lot of tight spaces so it suits my play better. I’m definitely excited about being in Minnesota and being with the guys. We had a pretty fun preseason, and it’s a very fun group of guys.
Q Outside of lacrosse, what is something about your personality that people might not know?
A I’m shy. I’ve always been a shy guy, though I’ve been coming out of my shell a lot more. I’ll go up to someone now and say hi. Most of the time, if you come up and say hi to me I’ll talk to you.
Q What’s brought you out of your shell?
A I just think all the attention we got with the media. I’m a better speaker now.