The UMD hoops staff has made a concerted effort to identify and recruit the elite local talents, but head coach Mark Turgeon and Co. couldn’t help but take notice of Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) point guard Aaron Thompson. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound class of 2017 prospect grew up in Upper Marlboro, Md., and currently lives in Glendale, Md., which is within walking distance to the University of Maryland. Thompson has been attending Terps’ games for as far back as he can remember, and continues to hold the hometown school in high regard.
“I’ve always liked the program and the school. I’ve been a Terps fan forever,” said Thompson, who holds offers from Penn State and Rice. “From Coach Gary Williams to Coach [Mark] Turgeon, I’ve been watching Maryland basketball. I would definitely like the opportunity to go there. I wouldn’t immediately commit if I was offered, but I would give it strong consideration for sure.”
Thompson may not have an offer yet, but Turgeon and area recruiter Dustin Clark certainly know all about him. The Paul VI product said Clark has seen him play, while Thompson has met the UMD staff on several occasions.
“I haven’t heard from Coach Clark recently, but he does stay in touch. Hopefully I’ll hear more from him coming up in this live period,” Thompson said. “[Clark] was telling me to work on my jump shot and show I can score the ball, but that he likes what I bring to the table. He said he’d be watching me in AAU this summer.
“But I think Coach Clark and Coach Turgeon are top-notch recruiters, so they know what they’re looking for. It’s obvious they know what they’re doing; they’ve changed the face of the program and how kids see Maryland. Kids from this area, they’re interested in Maryland now with Anthony [Cowan] going there, Melo [Trimble] going there. [Clark and Turgeon] have done a great job, and I think a lot of them as people, coaches and recruiters.”
Thompson also mentioned that he knows current Terps point guard Melo Trimble through his brother, Anthony Thompson, who plays at Holy Cross. The Paul VI point said he paid close attention to how Trimble performed this year, as well as how well the squad did in general.
“I was surprised how well Maryland did this year for its first year in the Big Ten. They did great, and I thought Melo was awesome,” Thompson said. “I went to their one game against Penn State, and then I watched them on TV a lot too. They were fun to watch; I could definitely see myself playing there. Coach Turgeon does a great job, and it’s a great atmosphere there [at the Xfinity Center].”
Thompson said he plans to return to College Park for a personal visit this summer. He also would like to see UVA, Connecticut, Penn State, Rice, Notre Dame and a few others.
“I want to try to visit as many of the schools that are showing interest as possible,” said Thompson, who has already seen UMD and Temple. “Penn State and Rice have offered me, and UConn is talking to me and wants me to visit. Notre Dame, I talk to them a lot, UVA is interested, and Maryland is definitely interested. There’s a couple more too, but those are the ones I know off the top of my head.”
The local guard will have a chance to add to that interest list starting April 10, the first day of the open period. Thompson is currently playing for Team Takeover’s 17U squad and said he’s eager to show off his skills.
“I’ve been working out, trying to get my body right to make sure I’m healthy throughout the live period. I’m just trying to get stronger and more flexible to endure all the bumps I’m going to take this summer,” Thompson said. “I think I can distribute the ball well, run the offense as well, I have good floor vision and I can finish. But I need to become more of a leader and get guys to really play for me. That’s important as a point guard. Then my rebounding as a guard, I can work on that, and then my jump shot too.”
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