Thompson loves his Texas decision

Before even one commit rolled in for the 2009 class, the Longhorns were already off to a scintillating start in the 2010 class when St. Benedict's forward Tristan Thompson pledged to Rick Barnes in March. After last weekend's Marshall County Hoopfest in Benton, KY, the 6-9, 215-pound junior took the time to speak to Burnt Orange Beat.

The Texas Longhorns have been on a recruiting roll since March 4 when the nation's #1 junior Tristan Thompson committed to Rick Barnes. At the time, the Longhorns had yet to secured a verbal in the 2009 class, but the momentum was already beginning to get rolling with the commitment of the then sophomore out of St. Benedict Prep.

At last weekend's Marshall County Hoopfest, the multitalented forward continued his play oozing with potential as he took home game MVP award on Friday and Saturday in Gray Bees' wins over Jackson Provine, MS and Chicago Whitney Young. Even with the MVPs in hand, the junior with a 7'3" wingspan was not satisfied.

"I think I played alright," Thompson said. "I think I could've been a little more aggressive. I kind of struggled shooting a little bit, but it happens. Some days, your shot is off and I'm going to go back to the gym and make them next game," added Thompson.

While Thompson is very hard on himself, the improvement in his game from his sophomore to junior season is already evident with improved ball handling, strength and the ability to get in a good defensive stance and defend on the perimeter.

"I've improved my ball handling and all aspects of my game really. People said I wasn't that strong, but now I've got stronger and can guard players from the one through the five. My foot speed is better. I can guard any position on the floor now, which makes me more effective," Thompson said.

In the Marshall County Hoopfest, St. Benedict Prep played swarming defense holding both opponents to 56 points or less. Thompson says that is what the Gray Bees must do to have the type of season they desire, which is to win the mythical high school national championship.

"It's just about defense, point blank. Defense is what is going to help us win. Offense always comes if you play good defense. That's what we have to do," Thompson said.

On the recruiting front, Thompson is 100% committed. He took an unofficial visit to Texas in October, but this time showed around good friend and teammate Myck Kabongo instead of being wooed by the university.

"I went for a football game. It was when we played Oklahoma State. The visit went real well. Myck Kabongo came with me, so I just showed him around. I showed him the campus, introduced him to all of the players and hung out with the guys. I let him get a feel for the family at Texas," Thompson said.

Being from Canada and playing on the East Coast in New Jersey, many though the 6-9 left hander would stay on the East Coast to play his college basketball. While some in those parts ask why he would leave, there is a healthy respect for the Texas program.

"A lot of people respect Texas, but some guys ask why I didn't stay on the East Coast? I say Texas is a great fit for me, but people agree that Texas is a great program and agree with me that it's a good spot," Thompson said.

While at the Marshall County Hoopfest, the smooth playing forward was excited about the chance to watch future teammates Shawn Williams and Avery Bradley. Thompson said he can't wait to play with the duo at Texas.

"They are great players. They are going to make great contributions to the program and I can't wait to play with them. It's exciting to think about." Thompson said.

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