Thompson Puts Together First List

To date, Sam Thompson hasn't received a ton of national attention, but that is changing, as college coaches are banging down his door.

The crop of prospects in Illinois in the 2011 class is impressive.

Wayne Blackshear and Mike Shaw get the most ink, but their AAU teammate – Sam Thompson – is slowly turning himself into a big time prospect.

"It definitely motivates me," Thompson said. "I'm in the gym with them up to five times a week and maybe on the weekend when I'm going to a tournament with them. Playing against them and knowing that they have such highly regarded names definitely motivates me to play better."

While Blackshear and Shaw are playing with the Mac Irvin Fire 17's, Thompson is playing with the 16's group and the 6-foot-7, 185-pound wing is certainly excelling.

"Overall I'm really proud of my play," Thompson said. "I'm proud of what I've been able to do on the offensive end. I've been able to play within the system, but at the same time I've been able to show off my skill set."

The 6-foot-7, 185-pound wing had his full game on display this past week at the Nike Peach Jam. Using his tremendous athleticism and versatile game, Thompson powered Mac Irvin Fire to some wins and impressed the college coaches in attendance.

Over the weekend Thompson, a four-star 2011 prospect, put together his first list of schools.

"Up until now I've just been taking calls, but right now I've developed my first list of schools," he said. "It's a long list of 15 schools, but I wanted to start everything off."

Among the programs on the list are Miami, Louisville, Illinois, Oregon State, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Kentucky, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida and Southern Illinois.

"This is the very beginning stage," Thompson told "This is my first list and I'm going to start narrowing it down from here."

Illinois and Oregon State did their homework early and have already had him on their campuses for unofficial visits. Thompson plans to take a few more trips in August.

"It's all wide open right now," Thompson said. "There's nobody I'm leaning towards or anything like that.

"All of these schools are showing interest in me," he said. "I've found I could wait it out as long as I need to. I don't plan on doing any type of early commitment. I don't plan on doing anything until my senior year and my AAU career is complete."

Thompson and Mac Irvin Fire will be back in action this week during the second July evaluation period. They'll kick things off in Las Vegas at the Main Event. Then they'll head to Phoenix for the Desert Duel.

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