Tristan Thompson starring for St. Benedict's

The Texas Longhorns have one of the top juniors in the country committed in St. Benedict's combo forward Tristan Thompson. The 6-9, 215-pound five star prospect and his St. Benedict's teammates are one of several nationally ranked teams taking part in this weekend's Marshall County Hoopfest in Benton, KY.

Tristan Thompson made his debut at the Marshall County Hoopfest on Friday night against Jackson Provine, MS. The 6-9, 215-pound long armed combo forward performed as a five-star prospect is expected to in a 72-56 win.

The future Longhorn, who plays the four spot for St. Bendict's, showed the versatility that has earned him the #1 ranking in the 2010 class. Whether it was defending on the perimeter against a smaller and quicker opponent, running the floor and finishing with a two-handed dunk, snatching a rebound with his ultra long arms, putting the ball on the floor in the open court or blocking a shot from the weak side, the star left hander made an impact in victory.

Thompson was named the game MVP after posting 18 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots, three assists and two steals on 6-11 shooting.

One person that is not surprised by the type of performances Thompson is putting up on a consistent basis is GrassRoots AAU program founder Ro Russell. At halftime of Friday's game, Russell took the time to speak about his star forward.

"He's improved," Said Russell. "He's filled out a little bit. I think he has added a few pounds, so he's stronger this year. Without big men Samardo Samuels (Louisville) and Greg Echinrique (Rutgers), teams will be keying on him more this year. It's up to him to be the one to get the rebounds, finish down low, run the floor and block shots as well as stepping out to drive and hit a few shots,"

Even with the #1 national ranking and a bright future ahead, Thompson still has plenty of room for improvement. Russell points to two key areas in that would allow the elite level to talent to expand his game further.

"He's still got to work on his outside shot, which he is. Out of necessity, he's got to play the four in high school. He needs to work on his ball handling and passing. He's been scoring in practice, but it's very systematic in high school. That will come," Russell said.

When the native of Canada committed to Texas in March, many wondered if the Longhorns would be able to hang to Thompson for two years until he can sign. Russell says Thompson is 100% committed and has the support of his family.

"His commitment to Texas is 100%. He feels like it's his home. He can't wait to get there. He watches all of their games and calls the coaches. His folks are totally on board with his decision. Texas is a perfect fit for him." Russell said.

Tristan Thompson scouting report

Thompson possesses things one simply can't teach - a legitimate 6-9 height with a wing span of 7'3" and impressive agility and body control, Thompson has been blessed with a terrific baseline of basketball talent.

On the offensive end, Thompson does a good job of catching the ball in the mid-range and playing out of triple threat. He faces up, doesn't rush and measures his defender. He is comfortable putting the ball on the floor going right or left and sees the floor well when driving baseline. He has terrific timing when rebounding the ball, especially on the offensive end.

Thompson has good hands, catches in traffic and gathers his body. His plays the game with good pace.

Where he can improve is not spinning into the double team as frequently as player control fouls can be an issue at times. Thompson passed up several mid-range jumpers in the first and early second half before knocking down one of two from the elbow extended. One reason Thompson passed on a few jumpers is that St. Benedict's didn't have a weak side rebounder in position, but Thompson is looking to put the ball on the floor and get to the paint more times than not.

Thompson is comfortable handling the ball at any time on the court. He excels in the open floor and working along the baseline.

As a defender, he has the same type of length that Kevin Durant possesses. That means he can defend on the perimeter and use his length to make steals and deflect passes. Post entry passes can be very tough when Thompson is defending on the wing. Though not an instinctive shot blocker, his length allows him to change and block shots without a true shot blockers timing.

Thompson rebounds due to length at this point. As he gets stronger, he'll be able to sit down, put a body on a defender and make sound block outs.

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