Martin, Gamecocks add another player

dcloninger@thestate.comMay 28, 2014 

James Thompson

247SPORTS PHOTO

James Thompson took his time and made the decision that was right for him.

South Carolina didn’t mind the wait.

“I think he’s an up-and-coming star,” Thompson’s coach, Don Green, said Wednesday. “James is 6-9 1/2. He plays like a 7-footer, runs like a guard, he can finish around the rim. His best days are in front of him.”

Thompson, of Parkview Baptist School in Baton Rouge, La., committed to the Gamecocks last week and will make it official Thursday when he signs his national letter-of-intent. He will become the fourth member of the Gamecocks’ recruiting class.

The two-time all-state selection gives USC a needed infusion of height, although he’ll need to add some bulk to his 215-pound frame to stay in the lane against the SEC heavies. The No. 2 prospect in Louisiana, Thompson turned down hometown LSU along with Texas A&M, Kansas State, Memphis and others to come to the Gamecocks.

Thompson averaged 18 points, 12 boards and five blocks as a senior, playing his final year without knowing which college he would pick. While many players pledge in the early period, Thompson wanted to wait until the spring.

“He never wanted to sign early,” Green said. “I told him, ‘Coaches will always want to sign you. You’re 6-9. Wait it out, see where the coaches go. Wait, and see how things play out.’”

The hometown Tigers were interested early but didn’t come back around late, even when they jettisoned three players after the end of the season.

“They showed great concern for him, but at the same time, LSU was recruiting several other kids, too,” Green said. “They really wanted to fill their barn early in the signing period.”

Once Thompson visited USC with his father, he had an inkling he’d wind up there.

USC’s scholarship allotment is full but the Gamecocks are recruiting for next season. USC is being considered by transfers Danuel House (Houston) and Robert Carter Jr. (Georgia Tech), who will each have to sit out next season. Each player has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Thompson is set to report in July for the second summer semester. The rest of the team is set to report this weekend to begin summer workouts, and the first summer semester on Monday. The other three recruits – Marcus Stroman, TeMarcus Blanton and Shamiek Sheppard – are in that group.

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Where next year’s roster stands
G Ty Johnson, Sr.
F Michael Carrera, Jr.
C Laimonas Chatkevicius, Jr.
G Austin Constable, Jr.
F Mindaugas Kacinas, Jr.
F Brian Steele, Jr.
F Demetrius Henry, So.
G Justin McKie, So.
G Duane Notice, So.
F Reggie Theus Jr., So.
G Sindarius Thornwell, So.
G TeMarcus Blanton, Fr.
F Shamiek Sheppard, Fr.
G Marcus Stroman, Fr.
F James Thompson, Fr.
Teams have 13 scholarships. Constable and Steele are walk-ons and do not count toward the limit.

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