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 Scout.com 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
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 Scout.com 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
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
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
Multi-Dimensional Thompson Plans KU Visit
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