Departing Dawg: Is Trey Thompkins bound for NBA glory?

Here's Trey with a deuce. (AP photo)

Here's Trey with a dunked-home deuce. (AP photo)

Trey Thompkins will be in the NBA next season, and we need ask: How good a pro can the former Bulldog be?

Short answer: Pretty darn good.

Quick caveat: Providing he gets in shape.

Only once — in his sophomore season — did we get an extended glimpse of how effective  Howard Thompkins III can be. He was hurt before games began in 2008-2009 and never played his way into form, hurt again in practice this season past and always seemed to be playing catch-up ball, at least conditioning-wise.

His numbers took a slight dip, and he didn’t ace the eyeball test, either. Only occasionally — against Kentucky in Athens on Jan. 8; against Washington in the only NCAA tournament game of his Georgia career — did he appear as dominant as his preseason SEC player of the year led us to expect. He was good, as opposed to great.

He can, however, be a much better professional. He has an NBA body and NBA skills. He’s 6-foot-10, 245 pounds. So’s Al Horford, although Thompkins wouldn’t appear half as strong. He’ll never be pressed into service as a center: Thompkins is a pure power forward, which isn’t a bad thing to be.

NBAdraft.net projects Thompkins as the 16th overall pick, the highest the site has had him in a while. I’m thinking he could move upward. (The first 14 picks comprise the lottery.) I don’t think he’ll be top 10, but I’d be surprised if he’s not in the top 20. But to become an NBA starter, a double-double guy, he has to get stronger and more forceful.

Speaking of Thompkins back in February, an NBA scout told me: “I’m not sure what he does well.” I can think of several things: He can shoot from distance, score down low and pass from the high post. I think what happened with Thompkins this season is that he didn’t do any of those things often enough to delight scouts, but now that he announced he’s leaving they’ll look harder. There are things there to like.

As for Travis Leslie, the Bulldog who has declared for the draft but has retained the right to remove himself: He’d be better served staying another year at Georgia, although I’m not sure he will. NBAdraft.net projects him as the first pick of Round 2 — in 2012. He’d surely get drafted this year if he leaves, but not so highly as a man of his talent should. Leslie needs another season to prove he’s not just another of those power guards (think Dion Glover) who fizzle so quickly in the pros.

But he probably shouldn’t take my advice. I had Purdue going to the Final Four.

By Mark Bradley

77 comments Add your comment

The rest of us

April 6th, 2011
9:06 am

Love Trey as a college player, but I don’t see him tough enough to make it in the NBA. He plays way too soft to be able to bang with the boys in the league.

STUDENT ATHLETE

April 6th, 2011
9:06 am

3 years; 3 points a game

The rest of us

April 6th, 2011
9:06 am

just a fan

April 6th, 2011
9:11 am

Trey will do just fine in the NBA he has good touch and good ball handling skills for a big man

[...] Departing Dawg: Is Trey Thompkins bound for NBA glory?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)He has an NBA body and NBA skills. He's 6-foot-10, 245 pounds. So's Al Horford, although Thompkins wouldn't appear half as strong. He'll never be pressed into service as a center: Thompkins is a pure power forward, which isn'ta bad thing to be. …Georgia's Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie to enter NBA draftUSA TodayGeorgia's Thompkins declares for NBA DraftKansas City StarGeorgia's Thompkins declares for the NBA draftSportingNews.comExaminer.com -WKYT -Red and Blackall 210 news articles » [...]

Tucker T

April 6th, 2011
9:14 am

I hope Leslie will stay but the allure of the NBA can be overwelming.

Blindog

April 6th, 2011
9:14 am

I’ve heard that some team mates didn’t like playing with Trey,anyone else heard anything to comfirm this?

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Mark Bradley

April 6th, 2011
9:20 am

Kudos, The rest of us.

DawginLex

April 6th, 2011
9:20 am

Thompkins is a potential long time NBA player.

How hard is he willing to work?
Is he injury prone?
If he was in better shape, would the injuries be less frequent?
Must improve his overall game and not get pigeon holed into being a low post player.

Buckeye speaks highly of this young man and his family. If he works hard, there is no reason he can’t be successful.

Travis Leslie won’t get drafted. He will be making a huge mistake if he leaves now.

Road Scholar

April 6th, 2011
9:27 am

It’s surprising that there are only so many 1st and 2nd round oicks to be made, and these underclassmen are declaring in droves, let alone some are hiring agents. No “parachute” exists if they aren’t selected. just look at Ctritterton’s trek in th NBA, if he’s still there! Stay in school; You signed up fpr 4 years. Even more so, your degree will go whereever you go! Also have you seen the non NBA job market?

Mark Bradley

April 6th, 2011
9:29 am

And Javaris Crittenton was indeed a Round 1 draftee.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

old school

April 6th, 2011
9:33 am

Remember what Charles Barkley said about the NBA. It is a “MAN’S League. He is to soft and not mature enough to play in the league yet. Was not even a consistent player in the SEC, as it seemed like he did not show up in big games. He got some bad advice from people who do not have his best interests in mind going forward.

DawginLex

April 6th, 2011
9:37 am

old school,

did you watch the NCAA game vs UW?

Clark Kellogg doesn’t give out praise without it bing warranted. He was gushing about Thompkins being the best player on the floor and making big shots.

If he does that in the NBA, he will play a long ime.

PMC

April 6th, 2011
9:39 am

He needs to get on the Shane Battier diet.

GTJason

April 6th, 2011
9:40 am

That’s Turrrrrrible to quote Barkley like that. He’d say these 2 guys are knuckleheads for leaving.

No way......

April 6th, 2011
9:55 am

…Jose’…

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 6th, 2011
10:03 am

Looks like the fleabags will be back to their usual sucky self next year in B.B.

You don’t have Paul Phewitt to beat up on anymore.

Fox will be fired within 3 years.

GTBob

April 6th, 2011
10:22 am

Mark, you are right. Trey will have to beef up and play with more aggression. Playing in the NBA is going to be a completely different game then college. The power forwards he will be will be going up against will be bigger, stronger, and more athletic then he is. In the SEC he had the luxury of playing mostly inferior talent. That luxury is gone now. He is probably going to get knocked around for a while.

Paul in RDU

April 6th, 2011
10:25 am

I looked at the mock draft and it doesn’t have any of UNC’s top prospects (Barnes, Henson and Zeller) listed as even being drafted and has Jimmer Fredette as a lottery pick. I can’t take this seriously.

fan

April 6th, 2011
10:26 am

Nice comment Ramble on considering Fox’s contract is getting re-worked, don’t think he’s going anywhere. Plus I wouldn’t hate on Fox, during his first year vs a more talent tech team he came away with the W. Tech sports are about to become mediocre once again, no wait, that’s already happened.

bascogcjs

April 6th, 2011
10:30 am

Trey’s too soft and injury prone.
He has had some kind of leg,foot, or back injury all
during high school and college.
That doesn’t bode well for long lasting nba career.

Clueless @ the AJC

April 6th, 2011
10:30 am

Stupid Mistake. He needs another year of development. Didn’t he hear Charles Barkley the other day?………….the NBA is for Men.

Remarkable

April 6th, 2011
10:35 am

Travis Leslie, see what it will be like to be THE MAN at UGA for a year with the mantle of leadership on your shoulders. You could move up into a lottery pick!

Walker, Texas Ranger

April 6th, 2011
10:36 am

in a word, no

Walker, Texas Ranger

April 6th, 2011
10:38 am

I don’t think the UNC guys will all come out. I think they are being told that maybe 1 would be a lottery pick and the other two would not.

Mark Bradley

April 6th, 2011
10:45 am

Let the record show that Charles Barkley left Auburn after three seasons.

Joycee Banicheck

April 6th, 2011
10:52 am

Got to watch you play your last game at UGA in Charlotte Trey, good luck in the future and thanks for being a DAWG.

GTBob

April 6th, 2011
10:54 am

Paul in RDU, I think they are making assumptions about who is leaving and who isn’t. They have Harrison Barnes as the number 1 pick in 2012 and not drafted in 2011. Obviously, he would be a top 5 pick if he decides to leave this year, so they must be assuming he isn’t leaving.

Mark Bradley

April 6th, 2011
10:56 am

Harrison Barnes would be one of the top three players picked if he leaves. I bet he does.

I Saw It On TV

April 6th, 2011
11:04 am

Great coverage on the Masters by the AJC, you guys are sports personified!

ormewood

April 6th, 2011
11:15 am

Probably 50/50 on whether Harrison Barnes goes or stays. If he and Henson go, that slides Thompkins down a couple of more rungs.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

I-DOG

April 6th, 2011
11:18 am

I think he will have a spot in the league as a backup for a long time, but I don’t think he will be much of an NBA player. Power forward is the most competitive position in the NBA. There are just a lot of great players that play that spot.

I would project career averages of 15 minutes a game and 5 points and 3 rebounds. Still makes sense to come out as he will probably go in the top 20 and sign a nice contract and have a nice NBA career as a backup. I don’t have anything against him and wish him the best of luck… just my unbiased opinion based on watching him play.

RaleighDawg

April 6th, 2011
11:21 am

Again – nothing to be gained for Travis to stay at UGA. At 6′2″ and limited ball handling skills (remember who Fox used to “break” the press time and time again – Trey, not Travis) his only position in the NBA is as a 2 guard. With Dustin and Gerald – plus Sharrod and Vinnie – returning and Pope (and maybe Ware) coming in, Travis will never play a minute at the 2. He’s better served to go pro now (even if he ends up in Europe or the D-League) and work on his jump shot, ball handling, and defense than he is to hang around in Athens for another year. I say thanks for the three years and best of luck to you T-Bird !

Double Zero Eight

April 6th, 2011
11:22 am

I think he will be another “Cedric Henderson”.
He needs another year at Georgia.

PMC

April 6th, 2011
11:23 am

That’s too bad for the NBA then. Harrison Barnes is an extremely talented player, and he’s also exceptionally raw.

Instead of passing to a better shot when the game was on the line against Kentucky, he barely bricks up a 3 against a smothering double team with 20 seconds left.

I’ll give him however that he could at least crack the starting lineup for the Heels unlike Marvin Williams who surely must have studied PT Barnum when he decided to go to the NBA.

Unfortunately for us…. Billy Knight is a WINGSPAN guy.

[...] See the original post here: Departing Dawg: Is Trey Thompkins bound for NBA glory? – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Buckeye

April 6th, 2011
11:32 am

Howard ( before I was NBA) will go as far as he wants to. He has the inherent skills. We will see if has the desire.

I hope he is somewhere in the eastern time zone so we can see him from time to time. If goes out west, well, it was nice knowing you. Anyone see Al Farooq Aminu play this year??

I predict a journeyman career at best, or, an injury-riddled 2-3 year career and out of the league.

The good news, I hope, is he will not squander his early money.

schmeckdawg

April 6th, 2011
11:36 am

Mark Bradley

April 6th, 2011
10:56 am
Harrison Barnes would be one of the top three players picked if he leaves. I bet he does.

I BET HE DOESN’T!!!!!!!!!!!!

KBP

April 6th, 2011
11:49 am

I am a Trey Thompkins fan and the only question I have is can he defend NBA power forwards? Bosh, Smith, Boozer, Bass, Garnett, Duncan, Gasol just to name a few.

Mark Bradley

April 6th, 2011
11:56 am

That’s the question regarding Thompkins: Is he quick enough?

Dawglasville

April 6th, 2011
11:58 am

KBP – Smith is power forward? Someone should tell him. He has been playing #2 guard all year long.

Dawglasville

April 6th, 2011
12:01 pm

Where is Buckeye with his scouting report on Howard (before he was Trey)?

Greg

April 6th, 2011
12:02 pm

Eh…probably the success level as Gani Lawal

Me

April 6th, 2011
12:07 pm

Trey blamed his teammates constantly. He was never at fault. He has zero physical toughness. He does not like to mix it up in the post. He’s played 3 years at UGA and never has he gotten on the floor after a loose ball. He is in for a rude awakening in the NBA. But, Mark Fox is part to blame in this. He never stepped in when Trey was busy blaming teammates during a game last year.

Ted M

April 6th, 2011
12:12 pm

I’d be very surprised if Trey is drafted in the 1st round.

Me

April 6th, 2011
12:18 pm

Not to mention, have you noticed his body? Doesn’t exactly know where the weight room is located at UGA. Getting up shots in a gym does not equate to ‘getting better’ and ‘putting in work.’ Trey is lazy, plain and simple.

Paul in RDU

April 6th, 2011
12:28 pm

Chances of UNC’s 3 top players going pro:

Harrison Barnes FR – 80% – he’ll be in top 5
John Henson SO – 50% – he’ll be drafted at the end of the lottery
Tyler Zeller JR – 10% – kid is an academic AA and he needs another year to impress the scouts