Multi-Dimensional Thompson Plans KU Visit

In the fast-paced environment of the modern-day AAU basketball circuit, it's not uncommon for athletes to play several positions on the floor.

Kids are busy these days. Schedules change, conflicts can arise, and rosters might look substantially different from one tournament to the next.

As one might expect, these impromptu personnel experiments – often attempted out of simple necessity – don't always end in success. Not every power forward is destined to be a wing, and vice versa.

But for the Mac Irvin Fire, the decision to hand a sizable chunk of the point guard duties to Sam Thompson is one such experiment that has borne unexpected fruit.

Two weeks ago, Thompson – a 6-foot-7 wing in the Class of 2011 from Chicago – was set to make his summer debut with the Fire at the Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League event in Houston.

It had been a long time coming for the Top 50 prospect, who was forced to sit out most of his junior season at Whitney Young Magnet High School with an ankle injury. He was understandably eager to get back out on the court and show everyone what he could do.

With the Fire's starting point guard, George Marshall, also returning from injury and the team without a backup for the weekend event, the coaches slid Thompson over to the spot  whenever Marshall needed a blow.

Almost immediately he began impressing talent scouts with his all-around skill level, and for his part, Thompson has enjoyed the chance to add another component to his game.

"There's no downside in being able to play all three positions out on the wing," he said. "There's no downside in being able to handle the ball and run a team. So it's something I will pursue."

The Fire emerged from Houston's EYBL with a sparkling 4-0 record, and they continued their strong play last weekend, posting a 4-1 mark at the Los Angeles EYBL event that wrapped up Monday.

Thompson continued to split time between the wing and the point guard positions, and here's what National Recruiting Analyst Evan Daniels had to say about his play on Day Two of competition:

"Yesterday we thought Thompson was pretty good, today he was terrific. He's extremely versatile and can play a variety of positions. He's a much better athlete that we've given him credit for and he's got a terrific feel for the game. At 6-foot-7 he's got great size for playing th wing spot and he's active not only on offense, but also on the defensive end."

While he was generally pleased with his own level of play, Thompson was more concerned with the Fire's lone loss, which came in a nail-biter to a tough Southern Kings squad from Georgia.

"L.A. wasn't a bad tournament for me," he explained. "There's just so many things I could have improved on."

One thing that stood out was an increase in turnovers, the bulk of which Thompson said came while running the point. Still, with his ankle now essentially 100-percent healthy, every element of his game is starting to show signs of improvement.

And he's enjoying the chance to play point guard as well, he noted, as it's helped him become more versatile regardless of which position he ends up playing at the college level.

"I'm in a good situation with the Fire because I have great teammates," Thompson said. "They're great players, with Wayne Blackshear, Mycheal Henry and Mike Shaw, just to name a few. Then we have athletes coming off the bench, so it makes my life a lot easier when I can just pretty much throw it up by the rim and somebody will go get it."

As is natural for a player with his size, athleticism and all-around game, college coaches have flocked to Thompson for some time. Recently, however, he began the process of narrowing down his list by choosing to focus on five schools – Florida, Ohio State, Oregon State, Kansas and Georgetown.

To date, all but Kansas and Georgetown have offered scholarships.

"I did not formally sit down with my parents or my coaches, but I felt it was time to get things moving along," Thompson said, of his recruitment. "I wanted to head into the month of July with a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do."

The Fire have the entire month of June off, and until recently Thompson had plans to attend this weekend's Elite Camp at the University of Kansas. With final exams slated for next week at WYHS, however, he felt it more prudent to stay home and use the time to study and prepare.

Though he won't be attending Elite Camp, Thompson said the Jayhawks would receive one of his official visits at some point down the road.

"It's just the timing," he explained. "Were this to be one week later or two weeks earlier, I would have been at Kansas' Elite Camp. This has nothing to do with a lowering interest level, this is just me having to study for school."

Additionally, Thompson recently received word he had scored a 29 on the ACT. Top Stories