Expect Georgia’s Thompkins to be early NBA pick — in 2011

Georgia is hoping Trey Thompkins doesn't take his game to the NBA for at least a year.

Georgia is hoping forward Trey Thompkins doesn't take his game to the NBA for at least a year. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

NASHVILLE — According to NBAdraft.net, Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins are projected as the Nos. 8 and 11 picks in the 2011 draft. That would be just fine with Georgia coach Mark Fox because it would mean both will be back for another season.

Leslie and Thompkins are sophomores. Leslie has said he will return next season (although players have been known to change their mind). Thompkins’ situation is a little more intriguing. He has turned into a strong player and leader for the Bulldogs, and Tuesday was announced as a unanimous All-SEC first-team member — the first Georgia player to earn that honor since Jarvis Hayes in 2003.

Thompkins acknowledged Wednesday that he has been getting more individual attention lately. But he reiterated that he has not made a decision.

When asked if he considered that the SEC tournament might be the final week of his college career, he said: “Not at all. It’s not even on my mind, to be honest with you. We’ve got practice right now and Arkansas tomorrow. That’s what I’m thinking about.

“I haven’t made my decision yet. I’ve actually given it very little thought. Somebody said recently that I was seriously thinking about leaving, but that’s just not true. I’m not paying much attention to the talk.”

Neither Thompkins nor Leslie are listed on 2010 mock drafts. That’s not surprising because usually only underclassmen projected as potential lottery picks are listed. Neither is considered in that group right now.

Fox said he and Thompkins have spoken “a couple of times” about the process. But he added: “He has been remarkably focused on the season and we’ll deal with that part of it after we’re done. We had a couple of kids who left early at Nevada, and that attention and that process can get to even the greatest of kids. But Trey has handled it very well.”

When asked if he believed Thompkins would come back, Fox smiled and said: “Do I think he’ll be back? I’m not sure I have an opinion on that yet. And if I do, I’m not sure that I’d tell you.”

Suffice to say, Thompkins returning next season would make a significant difference in the Bulldogs’ team. His scoring averaged jumped from 12.6 as a freshman to 17.7 this season (11.5 to 18.9 in SEC games), and rebounding has increased from 7.4 to 8.2.

“I’ve been trying to become a better vocal leader, and doing what my teammates need me to do,” he said.

For what it’s worth, college players thinking of turning pro have until April 25 to declare, but they have until June 14 to withdraw from the draft. However, Fox said there now is an NCAA deadline that somewhat supersedes the NBA deadline, stating players must inform their college by early May that they plan to return. Otherwise, they will lose their eligibility.

Just a hunch here: Thompkins will be back.

Previous posts

Bruce Pearl heaps praise on Dogs, Fox (and then quickly stops)

About Arkansas, and did Calipari get jobbed for SEC coach of the year?

How big a threat is Georgia in this tournament?

Who’s more likely to win a conference tournament game, Tech or Georgia?

Flashback: Georgia upsets Tennessee

Flashback: Mark Fox’s early reality check as coach

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

24 comments Add your comment

Ted Striker

March 10th, 2010
7:47 pm

Thumbs up from Striker on the column.

"Chef" Tim Dix

March 10th, 2010
7:58 pm

His talents will flourish under Coach Fox’s offensive scheme which is a modified pro triangle.

Russ4Heisman.net

March 10th, 2010
8:01 pm

Thompkins seems to have a really good head on his shoulders. I think one more year playing in a “pro-style” offense will make him a lottery pick next year.

Side note, it strikes me that the way to beat Georgia is to simply stop either Thompkins or Leslie. Not both, just either. Georgia lost to Auburn b/c Thompkins struggled. Georgia lost to LSU because Leslie struggled. To win against anyone, Georgia needs both of them to be on their games.

Herschel Talker

March 10th, 2010
8:01 pm

Schultzie – we love you! Bring home a championship for the Dawgs!

Mark Fox > Paul Hewitt

Over the Top

March 10th, 2010
8:45 pm

Why do you media guys keep trying to invent this story? There is no story here. The kid is not close to being ready to go to the NBA. The only thing this continual questioning does is lead to an inflated opinion of one’s talents. Just shut up. Write about Kentucky. Write about DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall.

ASHEVILLE DAWG

March 10th, 2010
8:46 pm

Let’s hope they both come back.

todd grantham

March 10th, 2010
9:32 pm

Jeffrey, let’s not lose the limited talent we have at UGA.

Delbert D.

March 10th, 2010
10:25 pm

Today’s highlights: What AJC.com *really* wants you to know…

- Alcohol affects brains of heavy drinkers

- Use lemon juice as deodorant?

o Love Does Not Hurt

o Study: Men want sex until almost dead

- Nonbelievers urged to be more giving

- Obama has attended church twice in Washington since his inauguration

o Faulty tax system has resisted fixes

o A state lawmaker hasn’t paid taxes for eight years

- Sprint CEO focuses on execution

- Lack of funds for death-penalty defense cited in bid for dismissal

o Official: Grass case against Calif. man to be cut

o Yard waste bill advances in House

NBA'er

March 10th, 2010
11:21 pm

Over the Top, no one is inventing any story. Thompkins has privately said he is unhappy in Athens. He didn’t even want to come to Georgia. Things happened and his “team” pushed him that way. Felton’s version of Rodney G………..The Bagman Striketh!

The Bright Side

March 10th, 2010
11:52 pm

Since I’m sure Jeff’s arrival in Nashville is as welcome as a tornado, maybe it’s a good omen for Georgia that is the he’s covering the SEC Tournament.

Lebron Jordan Erving Malone, prospect

March 11th, 2010
6:24 am

Man, I hope so. I like to watch that kid play … at Georgia. They could make the tournament next year with him, Leslie and a strong recruiting class.

Gen Neyland

March 11th, 2010
6:42 am

JS : Unlike the SEC Womens Tourney which was held in the home state of this fish wrap, will the ajc actually cover the Men’s Tourney start to finish or leave if and when UGA gets bonked..?

papadawg

March 11th, 2010
8:00 am

Looks like the Dawgs finally have a good coach, now they need to recruit some big time players

The Dogfighter Returns

March 11th, 2010
8:33 am

Jeff the guy is slow and pudgy he will be a slimmer version of big baby.

Speedygurl

March 11th, 2010
9:11 am

Thompkins isn’t NBA ready. He is too slow. Keep watching him play and you’ll see what I mean.

Jeff Schultz

March 11th, 2010
10:43 am

General Neyland — fishwrap reference notwithstanding, I’ll go home, Tim Tucker will stay here.

Jeff Schultz

March 11th, 2010
10:47 am

The Bright Side — Uh. What?

[...] Former walk-on Ricky McPhee is living his dream with the Bulldogs.7.  This writer expects Trey Thompkins to return to Athens next season.8.  Fox says his team needs “to have a good tournament” in Nashville [...]

[...] ♦ Trey Thompkins will be an early NBA draft pick (but likely in 2011) [...]

UGA Rules

March 11th, 2010
2:52 pm

Thompkins may test the market this year. He likely is a top 20 pick and thus would garner millions.

Yanni C

March 11th, 2010
3:12 pm

I think Thompkins will enter this years draft. If he is projected as a first rounder…. he will bolt. I feel Leslie will wait until 2011.

[...] ♦ Trey Thompkins will be an early NBA draft pick (but likely in 2011) [...]

[...] ♦ Trey Thompkins will be an early NBA draft pick (but likely in 2011) [...]

[...] Tired of talking about 2008 – AJC– A good time to win outside of GA – AJC– A hunch that Thompkins will be back – [...]