Vols in the race to land Thompson

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The recruitment of Darius Thompson is close to reaching a finality.

Will Tennessee be the school of choice for the Blackman (Tenn.) High School point guard? Those interested will soon find out.

"I really like Tennessee and coach (Cuonzo) Martin," Thompson said. "I talk to coach Martin or somebody from the staff at least once or twice a week. So, they stay in touch with me."

The Vols are in competition with Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and Virginia to land the 6-foot-3 point guard.

"In college, I want to play point guard," Thompson said. "My goal in college is to develop from my freshman year to my senior year and hopefully make it to the NBA or somewhere and play basketball the rest of my life. But, my main goal in college is probably to get to the tournament every year I'm there."

Tennessee has Travon Landry signed in the 2013 class but adding another floor general is necessary going forward. Returning starter Trae Golden will be a senior this winter.

If he doesn't earn a starting job for the 2013-14 season, Thompson says it won't be from a lack of effort.

"If I'm not there, I'm going to work for it. I'm going to work to contribute. I want to play as a freshman," he said.

Martin & Co. ventured to the mid-state several times to see Blackman play this season.

"That's huge. That means a lot when a head coach comes to see you. Some teams, they just send an assistant, but when a head coach comes that means it's for real," Thompson said.

"He came to an in-home visit. Then, I went on an unofficial visit (two weeks ago) and talked to coach Martin. He's a real respectable man."

The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native saw the Big Orange take down Missouri 64-62 in front of 21,767 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on March 9. He also checked out the Tennessee-Vanderbilt game in Nashville back on Feb. 13.

"I love the college atmosphere there (at Tennessee)," Thompson said.

Vol assistant coaches like Jon Harris, Tracy Webster and Kent Williams have all pitched in for the recruitment of the Blaze playmaker.

"I talk to about all of them equally; I really like their coaching staff," he said.

Thompson was a TSSAA Class AAA Mr. Basketball finalist alongside Tennessee signee and Dyer County standout Robert Hubbs. East High's Nick King took home the award.

During his senior season, Thompson averaged 16.3 points per game, shooting 55.7 percent from the field, 42.4 percent from 3-point land and 73.8 percent from the free-throw line. He also dished out 6.4 assists and snagged 3.6 rebounds per contest.

The Blaze suffered their first loss in 31 games at the Class AAA state tournament in Murfreesboro, falling 52-49 to Brentwood last week. Thompson contributed 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting with six rebounds and five assists.

"It's tough. We've been working for this since our freshman year. We started off our first year on varsity like 15-12. We built it up next year to 26-4. This year, 30-0. It seemed like everything was going perfect, but when you come up short that's tough."

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the InsideTennessee team July 2011.

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