4-Star on the Court, 5-Star in the Classroom

Stevie Thompson, Jr., talks about his brand spanking new offer from the Bears, his academic pursuits and his relationship with Yanni Hufnagel.

It's not very often that a four-star basketball is even better with the books than he is with the roundball, but that's the case with the California basketball team's latest offeree, Stephen Thompson, Jr..

The No. 18 shooting guard in the 2015 class, Thompson already has offers from Vanderbilt, USC, UNLV, San Diego State, Harvard, Gonzaga, Creighton, Colorado and Arizona State, but the addition of Cal – the No. 1 public school in the nation -- to the mix on May 20 was a big deal for the 4.3-GPA student.

"It's a big factor, because I'm looking for somewhere with a good combination of academics and athletics," Thompson told BearTerritory on Sunday.

Thompson is currently taking no fewer than four Honors/Advanced Placement courses at Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery, and was recruited by the previous staff, but not to the degree that the new bunch is coming after him, assistant Yanni Hufnagel in particular.

"I started talking to them a few weeks ago, when coach Yanni got out there," Thompson said. "As soon as he got out there, he started talking to me. I had a pretty good relationship with him already. I was pretty excited. I was also happy for him, as well. We had talked a lot when he was at his previous job, and we talk about a lot of stuff, other than basketball. We're on the phone a lot."

Head coach Cuonzo Martin -- as has been his practice since stepping foot on campus – has spoken personally with Thompson, as well.

"More recently here, they've been talking to me more. Coach Martin has called me, as well. We have a pretty good relationship so far," Thompson said. "They think I can fit in well, because they like to put emphasis on defense, as well, and they think I can do both."

The offer from the Bears gives Thompson an opportunity to stay and play closer to home, an opportunity he says is "definitely a part" of what his final decision. Before he makes that decision, though, he wants to take some trips, including one up to Berkeley.

"Hopefully, at some point," Thompson said. "We haven't set any dates yet. Most likely, it'll be in fall, when school starts back up, so I can see what it's like with a lot of students there."

BearTerritory.net Top Stories