Thompson Still Ascending

Findlay Prep forward Tristan Thompson has been a top five ranked prospect in the 2010 class based on where people think he will be in the future as a prospect with a very high ceiling. In recent weeks, Thompson has begun to flash even more of his vast potential. Burnt Orange Beat spoke with the sophomore to discuss his growth as a player this spring.

Future Texas Longhorn Tristan Thompson had a whirlwind junior season when he left St. Benedict's during the season and the 6-9, 230-pound left-hander had to learn a new system and teammates with the season winding down.

After playing just a handful of minutes in his first game at Findlay Prep, the #2 prospect in the Scout.com 2011 class, played major minutes in the final four games of the Pilots' national championship season averaging 14.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals.

At the National High School invitational, Thompson was solid in wins over Montrose Christian and in the title game against Oak Hill. The five-star prospect recorded eight points, 10 rebounds, three steals and a block against Montrose Christian and 12 points, 11 rebounds and one block against Oak Hill.

Thompson, who plays on the AAU circuit with Grassroots Canada, says he had a magical time at Findlay Prep.

"As you know, the season ended as well as it could," said Thompson. "We're the national champions and beat prestigious Oak Hill. Taking down the giants to do it made it even more special. I mean, Oak Hill and coach Steve Smith have been the best for a long time and beating them was great."

After the season, Thompson quickly changed uniforms and took part in the Real Deal on the Rock AAU tournament. His play opened many eyes as his quickly developing body and new found ability to finish with his off hand (right hand) was on full display.

"I played real well there. Everybody saw the difference in my body since I've been at Findlay Prep. I showed people I can finish with both hands and put the ball on the floor going either direction," Thompson said.

Scout.com basketball national recruiting director Dave Telep was one of the many to watch Thompson play at the Real Deal on the Rock and came away very impressed.

"A couple of things stood out in regards to Thompson at the Real Deal," Telep said. "First, his body is coming around nicely. He's improved his strength in his upper body and is playing through contact. Second, his motor is running at an all time high. I thought his competitiveness was outstanding and he was willing to put his team on his back and see how far he could take them. This is significant because it demonstrates his growth off the court as well. He's looking at himself as a leader and program changer. Physically, he's finishing with both hands around the rim and he's comfortable from mid-range. He did nothing to lose his status as the nation's top prospect. Harrison Barnes simply cranked it up. Thompson, in our mind, remains a potential No. 1 prospect in this class."

While Thompson is beginning to make the strides on the offensive end many have expected, he isn't satisfied.

"The two things I'm emphasizing are my perimeter shot and changing speeds off the dribble. I've been watching a lot of Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony to learn about changing speed," Thompson said.

On the recruiting front, Thompson is 100% committed to the Longhorns and tries to call a Texas coach on a daily basis.

"I try to call a coach every day. They are like my uncles. I want to know how everybody is doing, what is going on with the team and the program," Thompson said.

One of the highlights for Thompson in April along with winning the national championship was watching Avery Bradley put together some dominant performances for Findlay Prep and in various all-star games. Thompson says that shows what hard work and perseverance can do.

"Avery shows what hard work can do. Last summer, people said Avery was a guy that could jump high and defend really well. As the season went on, he proved that he had an awesome offensive game and could do anything on the floor. It also goes to playing at Findlay Prep. He goes up against C.J. Richardson everyday (Illinois signee) and they push each other. He goes up against Corey Joseph too and that pushes him. We face great competition in practice every day and it helps us improve," Thompson said.

Thompson is currently rehabbing a high ankle sprain. He is going to take some time off and will return to the court for the Adidas Nation Tournament in France June 8-12 or at the NBA Players camp.

Thompson is joined in the 2010 class by Phoenix North 6-4 shooting guard Daniel Bejarano, who is the #15 prospect in the 2010 class.


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