Camaraderie Lands Thompson at ASU

Cynics will say that team chemistry is just another overused sports adage. Yet, when that attitude is genuine, it usually leads to great achievements. Throughout his entire visit to the Sun Devils this past weekend, Brandon Thompson felt a strong bond with the ASU players, which ultimately led to his verbal commitment today.

When Brandon Thompson arrived back yesterday from his visit to Arizona State, he knew he wanted to be a Sun Devil. Then again, the San Antonio Stevens guard was ready to pledge to Georgetown and Texas Tech after respectively visiting those schools.

At the request of his Stevens head coach, John Hirst, Thompson "slept on it" and prayed over his decision and listed all the pros and cons about the Sun Devils in order to support his notion that he wished to don the maroon and gold in college.

"The teammates were great there and so was the coaching staff," said the 6-2 185 Thompson. "I had a great time at a BBQ at (assistant Coach Lamont) coach Smith's house, just getting to know everyone and playing games. All the coaches' wives and kids were there…it was just a very nice feeling.

"Coach Sendek is a very smart coach and I liked that. I know I will have an opportunity there to play and I like their style of play. The Pac-10 is a great environment to play in, and their new practice facility is top notch."

Coach Hirst also stressed the camaraderie factor in Thompson's decision, and noted that his guard felt he had a lot in common with his future college teammates.

"He really enjoyed the guys," Hirst said. "He wanted to go to a place where players do things right. They get the grades, they go to practice…just do things the right way."

"He has a personal desire to play for a winning team and win championships, and he felt that he could do that at Arizona State."

Prior to his press conference this afternoon, Hirst said that Thompson was "walking around all day with a big smile on his face" and was decked out with a gold shirt when he first saw him Monday morning.

"I never thought he would look good in any other color than red and black (Stevens' colors)," Hirst remarked, "but I'll tell you what, he looked awesome."

Hirst stated that Thompson's decision came down between Texas Tech and ASU, but he felt very fortunate to have "three great programs" recruit his guard.

ASU's coach Smith had recruited Thompson while he was at Santa Clara, and Hirst acknowledged that Smith's relationship with his guard helped ASU "get their foot in the door" in the recruiting process, but didn't ultimately make the decision to play for the Sun Devils any easier for Thompson.

"He saw a lot of similarities with the players and coaching staffs of all schools," Hirst said. "He really liked them all. It's just that Brandon felt very comfortable with the players over there at Arizona State and really felt a connection with everyone he met."

Brandon Thompson has racked up an impressive list of accolades in his prep career. San Antonio Stevens, a 5A high school, was 31-4 this past season and finished ranked #9 in the state of Texas, and was back to back district champions. The guard was selected to the All-State team, as well as All-District squad and was voted greater San Antonio Player of the Year. As a sophomore and a junior he was an all-region player as well.

As a senior, Thompson averaged 17.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.1 apg and 3.1 spg.

"When the lights are on and the crowd is there," Hirst said, "He's a stone-cold killer and rises to the occasion. The more the pressure, the calmer he is."

Thompson's style of play epitomizes a combo guard type of player, but Hirst said that he and the Sun Devil coaches for that matter didn't want to pigeon hole Thompson into a specific role.

"The coaches told me that they wanted a good guard," Hirst commented. "They told me ‘why would we want a point guard who can't score or a shooting guard that can't dribble or pass?' Brandon is a very versatile guard and coach Sendek made it very clear that he wants basketball players, not robots.

"That ended up appealing a lot to Brandon."

Thompson, who is the fifth member of ASU's 2009 recruiting class, is already academically qualified and will be on campus after the July 4th holiday.

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