Toree Thompson has played basketball since she was five years old and set her sights on college basketball soon thereafter.
“I would always go to the gym with my dad and train after school,” Thompson said. “I was serious about it from a young age. I would say about middle school was when I realized I had the potential to play in college.”
Thompson began her college basketball career at Ole Miss before transferring to TCU in 2015. She is averaging 9.6 points per game during her final campaign.
Thompson unlocked her love for basketball around the same time she discovered another passion– rapping.
Without hesitation, Thompson said rapping is more than a hobby– it’s a passion.
“My sister and dad inspired me to rap,” said Thompson. “One day we were just playing around, rapping, and we came up with a rap and I ended up performing it in a talent show; it just kinda went from there.”
TCU women’s basketball head coach Raegan Pebley said she is familiar with Thompson’s music career and supports it.
“I love Toree’s talent,” Pebley said. “It gets our team so excited when she does it for our team. I love watching what she does. She’s so gifted at it. I love that it’s positive and it’s putting more of that positivity in the world and it’s sharing her faith. That takes so much courage to do.”
Thompson said she chooses to rap about positive things and occasionally focuses on current events.
“It’s just to give an uplifting message and I like to impact people,” Thompson said.
The senior guard said balancing the life of a student-athlete while working on her music is easy because she sees rapping as an outlet to things in her life.
Thompson isn’t the only female student-athlete pursuing a music career while in college.
In 2017, twins Dylan and Dakota Gonzalez decided to forego their last year of basketball eligibility at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to pursue their careers in music.
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SPEAKING OUT: Dakota and I made the decision to forego our last year playing basketball at UNLV, and ya know what, it breaks my heart. REGARDLESS of what any of you naysayers think Dakota and I have put so much time and energy, struggle and heartache,sweat and love and tears into this game that has always been and will always be a part of our life. We worked our asses off to get to where we are. But because of the NCAA and the ancient set of rules that has yet to evolve with the rest of time, our hand has been forced to make the tough choice to go on and build a foundation to pursue our musical careers outside of basketball. If I could do both I would trust me and 9.9 out of 10 of you could never really understand the half of how bad it is and why it's IMPOSSIBLE. Still much love to my university, shout out to ET, my coaches,Tina the AD, and the rest at UNLV who tried to make it the best situation for us. Now, with God by our sides, it's onto the next chapter… #TheCrossover #AreYouOnTheTeam #II #Gonz
An amateur, as defined by the NCAA, is someone who has not profited above his or her actual and necessary expenses or gained a competitive advantage in his or her sport. According to the NCAA, maintaining amateurism is crucial to preserving the academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first priority.
“We all have different dreams that we want to do,” Thompson said when asked about her thoughts on the Gonzalez twins’ decision to pursue their music career. “Sometimes it’s not just one, so I think you should be allowed to do what your heart desires.”
Pebley said sports’ responsibility is meant to be a platform catalyst to propel student-athletes to pursue their dreams.
“Life is not totally about what happens in between the sidelines and the baselines,” Pebley said. “You use what you learn about yourself as a player to help you grow as a person. It’s encouraging in our program here at TCU that those gifts and those talents outside of your athletic ability are encouraged to be used.”
With graduation approaching, Thompson said she can see herself doing a lot of different things.
“I definitely want to do music,” she said. “I see myself doing sales and maybe owning a business.”
Pebley said she can see Thompson doing it all, calling her multi-faceted.
“I think she’s actually learned to be patient with it and that it all doesn’t have to happen today,” Pebley said. “I think she’s going to be successful at whatever she chooses to do. Not just doing one thing with her life, but always exploring different avenues whether that’s going into sales and continuing to develop her music.”
As her final basketball season is nearing an end, Thompson said she has an EP (extended play– shorter than an album but containing multiple tracks) with about five songs that she plans on releasing soon.