Even as it tries to beat Missouri and help secure an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament on Saturday, Tennessee’s basketball team will be looking toward the future.
Darius Thompson, a 6-foot-4 point guard from Murfreesoboro Blackmon High School, is taking an unofficial visit to campus and will attend the game. Thompson, the son of Cumberland University basketball coach Lonnie Thompson, has been a coveted recruit for the spring signing period after he didn’t sign last November. Thompson committed to Vanderbilt earlier in the winter but backed out after he decided the Commodores had too many point guards on the roster. Apparently he wasn’t aware of Tulsa transfer Eric McClellan, who is sitting out this season and will regain eligibility in 2013-14.
Though the Vols have a point guard already signed in their 2013 class—Travon Landry from Huntsville, Ala. who’s playing this season at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep—coach Cuonzo Martin obviously wants to solidify the position. Current starting point Trae Golden will be a senior next season.
Since de-committing from Vanderbilt, Thompson has heard from several power conference schools and is thought to be interested in, besides Tennessee, Virginia, Auburn, NC State and Purdue. But Thompson was a frequent visitor to Tennessee’s summer camp over the years, and the word is that Lonnie Thompson likes Martin, who has visited or watched the younger Thompson play each of the last three weeks.
ESPN rates Thompson a three-star recruit and wrote a solid review of his skills.
“Thompson is a combination guard with good size and length that allows him to excel on and off the ball,” ESPN said. “He is a good ball handler and passer with good court vision and has the ability to score on the break and can hit the open 3 most off the catch. He has a good feel for the game and matching basketball IQ. Thompson has the ability to defend both guard positions as well.”
Lonnie Thompson is rumored to be in favor of getting the recruiting process over with. That would be a load off for his son, who has led Blackmon to the Tennessee AAA tournament, which will be played next week.