PARAGOULD - Trey Thompson's sophomore year didn't end like he wanted it to, but it's clear the young Forrest City big man is headed for a big-time future.
The 6-9, 230-pound Thompson had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a block in his team's 64-53 loss to Greenwood Friday night at the Class 5A state tournament.
He showed off a skill set in that quarterfinal round match-up that has already gotten him offers from Arkansas and Florida and interest from a plethora of other schools.
"I am just trying to be humble," Thompson said. "I feel so blessed to have all these options and I don't want to take anything or any day for granted."
Forrest City head coach Dwight Lofton can't say enough good things about Thompson, who averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.
"His progress this year has been tremendous this season," Lofton said. "He has been a lot more aggressive offensively and is just going to keep getting better. That's why all those schools are after him.
"In recruiting, those universities look for high character kids now," Lofton added. "He is a high character kid, he is an AP (advanced placement) student, he comes from a strong family background.
"The days of Allen Iverson are over," Lofton continued. "The coaches tell me that ‘we want to bring in high character kids because you win with those type of kids.' That is what he is."
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson was the first to offer Thompson, doing so before he started his sophomore season.
"Coach Anderson is a great guy," Thompson said. "He is working hard to get those guys up there that he wants. It's going to take some time, but he will get the Razorbacks where he wants them to go."
Lofton said that Anderson and assistant Melvin Watkins are doing their due diligence when it comes recruiting Thompson.
"Mike has worked him extremely hard," Lofton said. "They do everything that they can within the NCAA limits of staying in contact, checking on him. Coach Watkins is always checking on him. He loves those guys and they love him."
Former Arkansas coach John Pelphrey – who had former Forrest City standout Marcus Britt play for him – is now an assistant at Florida.
"I talk to Pelphrey more now than I did when he was recruiting Marcus and when Marcus was up there," Lofton said. "They are also trying real hard to get him to come there."
There were several coaches stopping by Forrest City this season to watch Thompson play.
"Florida State has been real consistent in coming to see him, Tennessee flew in a couple of times to see him play and obviously Arkansas and other SEC teams all came in to see him," Lofton said. "He has handled it great."
Thompson said he really isn't focused on who is in the stands to watch him play, just how it plays.
"I let Coach take care of all that," Thompson said. "I know what I need to take care of is just going out and making plays on the court. It can't matter to me who is in the stands."
Thompson said he hasn't necessarily grown up a fan of any one team.
"Really I have just been a fan of college basketball," Thompson said. "I think that helps me in the recruiting process."
Thompson, who plays for the Arkansas Hawks AAU program in the spring and summer, said he doesn't want to take too long off.
"I will probably take a couple of days off, but then I want to get back in the gym," Thompson said. "I want to spend as much time as I can getting better and going forward and not just staying where I am right now."
He'll team up on the Hawks with some of the other top young players in the state including Little Rock Parkview junior I.J. Ready and Jonesboro point guard Karon Ross.
"I am going to be working on my ball-handling and my shooting," Thompson said. "I am just going to try and stay aggressive."
Forrest City ended the season 18-8.
"We had a good season and I have great teammates," Thompson said. "I hate that it ended this way."
Lofton said the best is yet to come.
"He had a really good year and you have to remember that he is just a 10th grader," Lofton said. "You can see know how he is knocking down the 12-footer and putting it on the floor. He's relaxed and shooting the three well. Next year he'll be knocking those down all the time."
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