ASU well positioned for fast-rising Thompson

Arizona State is actively pursuing New Jersey power forward Taurean Thompson, a player it has a direct connection to via the father of Sun Devil coach Bobby Hurley.

CARSON, Calif. -- In the recruitment of 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, Arizona State has an ace up its sleeve.

Thompson, a 6-foot-9, 195 pound power forward, plays his high school basketball at St. Anthony's in Jersey City, N.J., which is coached by legendary Bob Hurley Sr., the father of Sun Devil head coach Bobby Hurley.

The Sun Devils had offered Thompson a scholarship even before his outstanding showing at the 13th annual Pangos All-American Camp over the weekend, during which he received co-MVP honors in the Top-30 game Sunday for a 16 point, five rebound effort.

Thompson is now officially one of the most buzzworthy frontcourt players in the class heading into the summer and ASU is well positioned in his recruitment.

"I only spoke with coach (Bobby) Hurley once over the phone but it sounded good," Thompson said. "I'm keeping my options open until my senior year before my season starts but that sounds like a really good opportunity."

The elder Hurley has won 27 state championships and been named USA Today National Coach of the Year three times in his remarkable 40-plus year career at the school. He's one of the 10 winningest coaches in high school boys basketball history.

To Thompson, that means confidence. He's rapidly improved in recent years under Hurley Sr., and feels like that would continue at ASU because of the family lineage.

"I know his son played under him for a number of years and was a great player in the past," Thompson said. "He has a great reputation, bottom line, and I want to be the best I can be. So yeah, it's something I'm very interested in."

It probably doesn't hurt ASU's chances that it was one of the few high majors who began aggressively pursuing Thompson before his recent strong play on the circuit. In addition to the Sun Devils, Thompson said he's been offered a scholarship by Oklahoma, Old Dominion, Pitt, Rice, Richmond, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Joseph's, Temple and and Xavier.

"I would say Arizona State, Xavier, Oklahoma, Richmond, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Temple, those are schools I'm interested in," Thompson said. "Most likely I will visit ASU, Oklahoma, Xavier, some of the better programs who have offered. I'm just seeing how things go, who else offers, and then go from there."

A face power forward with great length and the ability to shoot the ball to the 3-point line, Thompson is also active defensively, blocking shots and gathering out of area rebounds. He said he's substantially developed under the tutelage of the elder Hurley.

"It's tough (at St. Anthony's) but you just got to wake up every day, seven days a week, willing to practice and get better," Thompson said. "Coach Hurley keeps you focused and teaches the game not play by play, but detail by detail, and that's why guys get so much better. That's why I'm so much better today.

"I'm working on my back to the basket game and it's getting better. Of course I've got to put some weight on, but that's coming along. I've been doing the face up thing for a while so I'm just trying to get my game more versatile. College coaches like the fact I can shoot the mid-range, so they want to spread out the offense. They don't like it when they can't space things out, so I'm the type of player who helps them do that, I guess."

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