Arkansas basketball commit Trey Thompson of Forrest City has been on the campus many times for games, but never got the full experience until his recent official visit on Oct. 11-13.
It solidified everything the 6-9, 250-pound big man he had been thinking about the Razorbacks and cemented his intention to sign with them during the early signing period Nov. 11-18.
"It was a great experience and I got to see everything about the campus and just loved it," Thompson said. "I knew this was the place that I wanted and needed to be and know I am certain of it."
One of his Thompson's biggest highlights was watching the current Razorbacks work out under head coach Mike Anderson since practice had already started.
"The biggest thing I noticed was how close they are," Thompson said. "It's like they are all brothers and all care for each other in every way.
"It really is a family atmosphere that Coach Anderson have got going there and that really appeals to me," Thompson added. "It really feels like home."
That's both on and off the court as Thompson is an outstanding student in high school.
"I got a chance to see the academic center and the plans for what they hope to have in the future," Thompson said. "My education is very important to me.
"I think I am going to major in sports management and see where that takes me," Thompson added. "I'm excited about my future both on and off the court at Arkansas."
Thompson, who averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks per game last season, chose Arkansas over Florida, Memphis, Mississippi State, LSU and Tennessee.
"I'm really looking forward to going up there and playing with the chance to represent my hometown and represent the state in a positive manner," Thompson said back in the summer. "It's always great to play for your home state and I think that was the deciding factor."
Thompson is one of three Razorback 2014 commits along with North Little Rock point guard Anton Beard (6-1, 180 and Arlington (Texas) Martin swingman Nick Babb (6-5, 190).
Babb is scheduled to take his official visit to Arkansas Nov. 1-3 while Beard has already taken his.
All three players are ranked as three-star prospects in both the ESPN.com and Scout.com rankings.
"I really feel like that Arkansas has some great players up there already and we are going to be bringing in some great more," Thompson said. "I am excited to be part of what Coach Anderson is building that is getting Arkansas back to being one of the top teams in the country."
One thing that Thompson is extremely excited about is the liklihood that he will be coming into the Arkansas program at about the same that the proposed new practice facility arrives.
Arkansas is the only one of 14 SEC teams that doesn't have a practice facility at this point and the Razorbacks' proposed one - nicknamed "The Lab" - will have a passcode that will allow the players to work out at anytime of the day or night.
"I think getting the practice facility is a big key for every player these days," Thompson said. "You need to be able to go workout whenever you have your homework done and have free time. You shouldn't have to worry about whether the door is is locked or the girls' team is practicing.
"It's a such a big deal for players to go to a place that has a practice facility," Thompson added. "It is about player development and I'm glad that is going to be the coach here. It was a factor for me that they are going to have one."
Thompson's addition will give Arkansas more size than it has has recently as he will join 6-10 freshmen Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley up front.
Arkansas should also have the brutish Alandise Harris (6-6, 230) , combo forward JaCorey Williams (6-8, 200) and West Virginia junior college transfer Keaton Miles (6-7, 225) as guys that can play the four and five spots for the Razorbacks in the future.
"I stood next to Bobby at the practice I was at when I was up there and we were almost the same size," Thompson said. "I think that is going to be the difference from some of the recent Arkansas teams. We are going to have some long athletes that can run and some size to go with it.
"I think all of the bigger guys are going to play off of each other's strengths," Thompson added. "I think we all do different things and that's a plus to mix them together on one team."
ESPN.com analyst Dave Telep sized up the game of Thompson, who was a ninth grader when her became the first player Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson offered after taking the Razorback head coaching job in 2011.
"A true center and big body," Telep said. "His size is legitimate and he's an anchor type recruit in the lane. Knows how to use his body and will position himself to lean on defenders in the post. Strong lower half and posterior leans against opponents and can clear out space. Able to back his man down and get into offense. Solid touch around the rim.
"There's much room for improvement which given his size isn't a bad thing," Telep added. "He could stand to tighten up his body which would increase his activity level and provide more energy. Doesn't run the floor hard yet. Likes to go to a basic and effective hook in the lane over his left shoulder. What is the counter move?
"Strong kid with high-major size," Telep continued. "Projects as a back end Top 100 player with a ceiling to move up should he become more assertive as a rebounder and scorer in the lane."
Scout.com analyst Brian Snow notes that Thompson is a different player than the two 6-10 players Arkansas signed in the 2013 class in Portis and Kingsley.
He also believes that he will benefit from playing behind those two guys as he redefines his body.
"He is a big space eater down low" Snow said. "Thompson is very different than the bigs brought in, in the 2013 class. Still he has good hands and a decent scoring touch. Now Thompson is most definitely a work in progress and shouldn't be counted on for big minutes right away. He needs to continue to get in better shape and play tougher, but his size and hands make him at least intriguing going forward."
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