"As a kid, he's a great kid with really good character," Atlanta Wesleyan head coach Bill Bufton said. "He's got a face for TV and he's one of the most liked kids at our school."
Thompkins is helping raise the profile of Wesleyan in the Atlanta basketball community while really advancing his academics and athletic ability. If you listen to Bufton (22 years as a high school coach), the expectations for the sophomore who currently averages 26 points and 14.3 rebounds, are lofty.
"I think some people think he's the next Dwight Howard."
Thompkins' father was a draft choice of the Atlanta Hawks back in the day after playing for Northeastern and Wagner. Currently 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, the younger Thompkins has the ability to blossom into one of the most highly sought after power forwards in the Class of 2008.
"Basketball-wise, he's the ‘Big Smooth'" Bufton said. "The game is effortless for him, especially defensively. He has a nice stroke from the 3-point line.
"At 6-8, who's going to stop him inside of 10 feet? Nobody."
So far, no one has. During one game this month, Thompkins snared 17 rebounds and scored 28 points. He's not a one-hit wonder either. As a freshman, even though he missed 10 games because of a torn meniscus, he went for 16 points and 8 rebounds.
"I have more responsibilities this year than last year," Thompkins said. "This year I have to step up and take on (a bigger) role."
How good is he? He's a Top 25 talent in his class right now. He's good enough that Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, South Carolina's Dave Odom and Florida's Billy Donovan have already been in the gym specifically to see him.
Assistants from Georgia, Baylor and Virginia have been in town as well. In fact, Baylor's been more than once and Bufton's son is a manager for the Bears so you know they've got solid intelligence on Thompkins.
"I don't pay them attention," Thompkins said. "I just keep doing what I do."
Apparently, he's pretty good at it!