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Tom Mix, Published July 26 2012

Thorson remembers roots: Fargo native pays homage to local coaches


Dave Thorson has worked with some of the best basketball coaches and players in the world.

Thorson, a 1984 graduate of Fargo South, has won four Minnesota boys basketball state championships as the coach of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis. He has been an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota and is frequently asked to lend his coaching talents at the LeBron James Nike Skills Camp.

His impressive resume didn’t get him out of cleaning the gutters of his 83-year-old mother Marliss Thorson’s Fargo home this week while he was in town attending the National High School Athletic Coaches Association meetings.

Thorson gave an hour-long seminar Wednesday at the Holiday Inn on basketball coaching in which he paid tribute to many local coaches that helped him as an athlete growing up in Fargo.

“I’m very proud to be from Fargo,” Thorson said. “I had so many great coaches and great teachers here. I feel like I owe something to all those people. Going all the way back to names like Don Nelson, Craig Flaagan, Steve Gravalin, Rod Jonas, Mark Askerooth and Erv Inniger, all went out of their way to help me when I was a young guy just learning. It’s an honor to come back and be able to speak.”

Thorson, 46, played two years of varsity basketball for the Bruins under Askerooth and Jonas. He went on to play collegiate basketball at NCAA Division III Hamline University. It was there where his desire to coach began.

For three years, he traveled the nation working at summer camps hosted by NCAA Division I power programs like North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Kansas and Arizona.

Those experiences allowed Thorson to network with some of the best in the game and develop a strong recruiting base that would serve him well as an assistant at Minnesota under Clem Haskins.

While at Minnesota from

1989-1994, he recruited Voshon Lenard, Jayson Walton, Randy Carter and John Thomas.

In 1994, Thorson started at DeLaSalle and has been there since. His teams have made 11 state tournament appearances and have won four state championships including a Class 3A crown last spring.

“The culture we have created at DeLaSalle helped us win the championship last year,” said Thorson, who resides in the Twin Cities with his wife Rita and a four-year-old daughter Ella Ray. “We only had three seniors and I don’t think we were the most talented team in the state, but our team had great chemistry.”

Wednesday he spoke about how to communicate with parents effectively, how to help players know their expectations and how he runs practices at DeLaSalle.

“I have had a lot neat opportunities to be around some of the best players and some of the best coaches in the world,” Thorson said. “So, what I try to do is give some things that they can bring back to their players and their program.”

Thorson also got a chance to go back to the South gymnasium for some on-site drill demonstrations.

“I’m proud to be a Bruin,” Thorson said. “I’m excited to be back in the gym and can’t wait to make a shot. I spent a lot of time in that gym.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562