Inside Trey Thompkins’ decision to stay . . .

  AthensTrey Thompkins, the University of Georgia’s best basketball player, told me on Wednesday what he told coach Mark Fox a few days before: He’s staying.

    Since the January firing of the coach who recruited him, Dennis Felton, Thompkins had left open the possibility that he would transfer to another school this summer.

    He considered it, but in the end decided not to do it.

   “To be honest with you, I didn’t know what to think when that first happened,” Thompkins said Wednesday of Felton’s firing. “It wasn’t a shock [because of the rumors], but it was a wow.  I didn’t think they’d fire a coach in the middle of  the season.”

    Thompkins tried to put his future out of his mind as the Bulldogs finished the season under interim coach Pete Herrmann.  When Fox, a complete unknown to Georgia’s players, was hired from Nevada in early April, Thompkins adopted an open mind about whether to go or stay.

    As he got to know the new coach, he said, he decided to stay.

    “Our relationship had a lot to do with my decision,” he said. “We talked about it, and I decided I want to stay.”

   Thompkins said he likes Fox’s intensity, approachability and communicativeness. He also said “personal family reasons” figured in his decision.

   Fox said Thompkins “has worked very hard” and “has had a smile on his face” since Fox got here.  But it wasn’t until a few days ago that Thompkins told Fox he’d be sticking around.

   “Trey had a difficult year, a traumatic year, like a lot of the guys,” Fox said Wednesday. “He had some legitimate concerns. He never said he was going to transfer, but [now] he has said he’s going to be back.”

   Fox figured Thompkins deserved time to get to know the new coach: “I think, with all of [the players], we have to educate them in what we envision, how we’re going to function.”

   And Fox figures Thompkins, a 6-foot-9 forward who was Georgia’s leading rebounder (7.4 per game) and second leading scorer (12.6 per game) as a freshman, took note that three big men who played for Fox at Nevada went on to the NBA. And not one of them was nearly as heavily recruited out of high school as Thompkins.

   Fox will be looking to Thompkins to do some serious scoring on a team that lacks scorers.  “He’s got a real savvy about him offensively,” Fox said.

    Now that this decision is made, Thompkins looks forward to a busy summer. He has been invited to try out for the USA Basketball 19-and-under national team. He’ll report to Colorado Springs for tryouts on June 16. If he makes the team, he’ll compete in the FIBA U19 World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, July 2-12.



36 comments Add your comment


May 14th, 2009
6:28 am

Trey represents a pillar to build on for the future. Now Fox must recruit several more players that can also be counted on as pillars and/or coach up UGA’s returning players to allow them to achieve greater results as they all were very good high school players in their own right. Fox must teach, develop a system, and mold these and future players into a team concept of winning basketball.


May 14th, 2009
7:40 am

This is the biggest ‘recruit’ that Fox could have landed this year. Good Job!


May 14th, 2009
7:51 am

We’ll get back there. Fox has already recruited a shooting guard out of FL. It’ll take a couple years but but the time Thompkins is a senior, we should be there. Looking forward to some real hoops.


May 14th, 2009
9:27 am


I believe we will get back there as well. But, Thompkins will definitely not be around for his senior year. If he is, Fox hasn’t done his job. We will get one more year, maybe two, tops out of Thompkins.


May 14th, 2009
10:08 am

I agree. Thompkins is the litmus test for Fox’s coaching skills.


May 14th, 2009
10:50 am

Yeah I must tell you that Thompkins decision has a lot to do with the fact that next year is his last at UGA. If all goes well he is leaving but if he transfers then he has to sit out one year then play the next year which would put him behind the so called NBA jump curve. Sorry guys it is what it is. thats the way the business is run now. So if Trey has a better year next year as the go to guy I can see top 15 picks provided his work out goes well. The U19 team will also let him know where he stands because if he makes the team and has a great impression then it puts him on the early All american lists for this upcoming season. Think outside the box with me and you understand exactly what I am saying.

Georgia News - 5/14/09 |

May 14th, 2009
10:55 am

[...] Here’s the news from Athens today:Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that “Urban Crier to the south and Li’l Kiffy to the north and Coach Satan and the limo kings to the west” are all trying to raid Mark Richt’s backyard for star prospects.Jim Donnan’s influence is still felt on the Georgia football team… namely from offensive coordinator and former Donnan quarterback Mike Bobo.Finally, Georgia’s best basketball player — Trey Thompkins — decided to stay at Georgia because of the relationship he’s developed with new coach Mark Fox. [...]


May 14th, 2009
11:13 am

I don’t think it’s fair to say Thompkins is the litmus test for Fox’s coaching skills. There is frankly no such thing. You have to judge the body of work to judge a coach.

For example, will you say he is NOT a good coach if Trey had issues and flunked out of school (unlikely I know) while UGA still wins 17+ games next year? I suspect not.

I’m mostly concerned about having UGA show up ready to play, with discipline and a plan. I’m firmly convinced that hard working teams that understand the game with individuals who understand their roles equals a winning program even if the team is slightly overmatched physically on most nights. If you are woefully inadequate physically then of course there is not much hope, but I doubt UGA will find itself in that position too often. It will be tough to play .500 or better for just about any coach next year but it should be easy to see if the coach is doing a good job or not.

We’ll see how it plays out. I’m happy for the change. I liked Felton, but I didn’t like his coaching style and it clearly didn’t work out for him at UGA.

SoCal Dawg

May 14th, 2009
11:19 am

Three years and we’ll be playing in march.

Judge Dawg

May 14th, 2009
11:32 am

I do not think we are too far away from success. We played well at the end of the season with a broken down offensive system. If we could have scored in the mid 60’s, we may have had a winning season. We will see some real improvement.

G State Ben

May 14th, 2009
11:45 am

So Cal Dawg and other, this is good news, kids that transfer hurt all programs in today’s games.

If it takes you 3 years to get to the NCAA Tourney then you’ll officially be the 4th best team in the state behind Yech, Georgia State and Mercer.

SoCal Dawg

May 14th, 2009
12:06 pm

G State Ben not sure what you mean?


May 14th, 2009
12:06 pm

More of the same quality SEC play that we’ve seen over the last two years. Something to really get excited about. Too bad Swansey took his immense skills to a more prestigious institution.

SoCal Dawg

May 14th, 2009
12:08 pm

I’m not gonna argue that UGA bball is the best in the state. No doubt we stink but in 3 years we’ll be the best in the state.

phoenix falcon

May 14th, 2009
12:17 pm

does anybody know what type of plays coach fox runs? i mean is it up tempo, or motion, or slow it down and feed it to the big men?

SoCal Dawg

May 14th, 2009
12:34 pm

In an earlier article I believe I read that he likes a fast pace but he said until he recruits the talent for that he’ll have a game plan for what talent he has.

Johnny DangerDawg

May 14th, 2009
2:01 pm

Does anybody know the NCAA limits on how many scholarship players a school can have overall and how many new players can be signed in ONE season? My guess is that UGA currently has more basketball scholarship vacancies than they are allowed to fill in one off-season.

Diamond Dawg

May 14th, 2009
2:13 pm

Nice job Thompkins. Fox will build around him and we will be solid in two years.

James Brown

May 14th, 2009
2:51 pm

I’ve watched Trey since he was a freshman at Wesleyan. Good solid charachter kid. It’s time he toughen up both physically and on the court mentally. He always seemed to be ( and was as UGA Frosh) a bit of a whiner on the court when the call didn’t go his way. He needs to lose 20 pounds and take that tremendous frame of his and begine to sculpt it into NBA form. Look at Dwight Howard vs. Trey Thompkins – not a big age difference but a huge “physicallity” difference. Can’t say “Go Dogs” but can say “Go Wesleyan”


May 14th, 2009
6:13 pm

I am very excited about the future of UGA basketball. In my opinion, Trey will be an All-SEC player next year. 6′9 kid with long arms and 3 point range. I believe he will be in much better shape this year. He battled some injuries next year. Travis Leslie 6′4 great leaper and scorer, Dustin Ware 6′1 high character kid with excellent handle, Trey Thompkins 6′9 NBA game, and Jeremy Price 6′8 bull is a great bunch to build around

SoCal Dawg

May 14th, 2009
7:15 pm

What is the biggest hurrdle to UGA becoming a power house in bball? Lack of interest. This story (a big and important story for UGA’s bball future) has been up since 5:02 am and has only 20 post, four of which are from me. A football story, mostly about football past, has been up since 10:13 am and has more than three times the post. Don’t get me wrong football is king but can’t we show some interest in bball too?


May 14th, 2009
8:14 pm

I dont know that a story about a player who never indicated that he was going to leave, not leaving, is really going to draw that much lively debate.

I recall stories about past coaches Hugh Durham, Tubby, or the current BB coach situation, drawing quite a bit of interest.

SoCal Dawg

May 14th, 2009
8:52 pm

Ok AltamahaDawg. I will partially agree.


May 14th, 2009
9:16 pm

I dont disagree with the raw math. 3-1 sounds about right, but if you look at national interest in those 2 sports, that’s probably not a bad ratio.
And even in those smaller number, I think the interest level is high.

K-Town Dawg

May 15th, 2009
12:17 pm


Tenn Tech is not a more prestigious institution, just like making the fries at McDonald’s does not constitute a chef.


May 15th, 2009
2:02 pm

K-Town Dawg, Im almost sure ChefChuck was being sarcastic, seeing as how Swansey could have been a more decorated player by now as a rising junior at a mid-major than at UGA. But can’t fault a kid for wanting to realize his dream rather than being realistic and practical. Anyway, what choice did he have; the decision he made or watch Dustin Ware take his shine one more time?


May 15th, 2009
8:59 pm

Trey is someone you can build your team around! High School Players in Georgia, why would you not want to come to a SEC team with a great fan base that will support basketball when they put a good team on the floor? It’s about Red and Black and playing for your state, where is the pride?


May 16th, 2009
7:16 am

I hate playing the game at The Gator Bowl at 1 Gator Bowl Boulevard


May 16th, 2009
7:36 am

The address is 1 Gator Bowl Boulevard, and we have to play the game every year there ?


May 16th, 2009
11:07 am

All we need is one or two years of recruiting SEC caliber players that can play in the Coach’s system and we will be respectable. Aretha Franklin had it right. That has to be goal # 1. Then, if we achieve that status, we move into March madness realm, say every second or third year and that is all that UGA can hope for.
Compare this scenario with what we have now or have had for the last 5 or 6 years. Harrick’s era does not count either, because he cheated and was a slime ball. We have not had anything in Athens for 15 – 20 + years and the new coach can change it in 4 years.
Be patient Dogs ……………. i have have been waiting for a BB team since my Frosh year ………..1967.


May 17th, 2009
6:59 am

Basketball ? Why in the hell are we still talking about Men’s Basketball in this UGA Bulldogs’ Sports Blog again today ? Get a grip. This blog is for discussion of UGA Bulldogs’ Football.

And, who cares if it is easier for Georgia Tech to win the lousy ACC Conference who has not had a top football team in years and years and years, than it will be for UGA ?

Kyle King makes a fool of himself and Senator Bluto. Now, that is the story of the day today, not still Men’s Basketball at UGA.

I certainly do not fly to Jacksonville, home of the Gator Bowl Football Game every single year, with its WebPages and Gator Bowl Association. Kyle King, while an attorney-at-law, demonstrates a poor argument that the stadium is in fact not the Home of The Gator Bowl. In listing football players, I see he lists Bryan Evans at the Top of his List, who is from White High School in Jacksonville, Florida. There are not and have not been more than a couple of such Georgia Football players from this hotbed of high school football players, and while listing Bryan Evans at the Top of His List, he lists no other current Bulldog Football player from Jacksonville. Why is that ? Supposedly, this is The Reason to have the game 6 hours away for us and 45 minutes away for them.

This game this season marks two decades, 20 years. We have Won exactly 3 of the games.

If the weather is no different in Florida than in Athens, Georgia, then why did we take our vacation to Florida again this year ?

It is quite significantly different when in November here it is in fact more like 70 degrees and for them closer to 85. In fact, many game days, that is exactly what we endure. Swampland is quite different from Athens, Ga, and therefore, yes sir, it is different for our players as Coach Richt again points out.


May 17th, 2009
7:02 am

Kyle King’s desires to keep playing the game ONLY in Jacksonville, Florida are selfish reasons for himself; and are not one bit about the players themselves.

Few of our players are from Jacksonville, Florida. We do not recruit well there, even with the game there. There is a large portion of UGA Bulldog fans who rightfully believe we would recruit in Jacksonville better, were the game Not played there every single solitary year. If we lose again this year, that will be 3 wins in the last 20 games against Florida. We need to do all we can do for our players, and I am not ashamed of the fact that we do it now, when Florida has the upper hand. It is not 1980 any longer. It has not been for 29 years now and counting. Florida has a dominant football program and we play right into their hands on this wanting to take a vacation to JAX for God’s sake, in November no less. The $20 million dollar impact we have on Jacksonville Florida’s economy does not count what we do to the economy between here and there. If the argument is that we do wonders for the economy of St. Simon’s Island, or anywhere else down there in the Deep South before you cross the border into Florida and start heading North again, maybe we should move The University of Georgia and Sanford Stadium where we play our games except this one at least every other year, to St. Simon’s Island ? Would that make you happy down there ?

Look, I have no problem with The Florida Crocodiles having their game every other year there at the Home of the Gator Bowl, 45 minutes from their campus, in Gainesville Florida. I also take no issue to Florida being able to buy license tags in this state of Georgia that bear their school’s Gator on it – just as long as our fans can buy a license tag in Florida that reads Georgia Bulldogs as well.

Fair is Fair.

Likewise, our choice of where we play our game, every other year, is in fact, our own choice. It has nothing to do with Gator Sympathizers, or Gator fans here where they have their largest Gator Club outside their own state. This question for us has nothing to do with Gators there or anywhere else. We have significant fans worldwide, and are 1 of the most successful sports brand names in the world.

But, the facts remain that while the Tennessee vols play sometimes 8 Home Games in a Season, UGA in fact has Season Tickets I buy that are a weak substitute with 6 games, and not once a game against Florida, who dominates our SEC Eastern Division and who dominates us.

We have not been considered for the Mythical National Championship Game. This is because we cannot get out of the East Division of our own Conference. You know ? The conference dominated by a much larger school than we are, Florida.

What do you do in Jacksonville ? In November, no less.

We have to park on one side of the street and walk across the street by going around the block instead.

When we were ahead at half time a few games ago, the scoreboard let our players enter our locker room with the score showing not us, but Florida ahead.

We drive 6 hours through a long group of communities who do nothing but hand out tickets in an endless stream of Speed Traps.


May 17th, 2009
7:23 am

River ? So you go to the River and party ? Really ? Is that why there are so many fights ? Why there are deaths every year now for fans of both teams ? Parents of college kids Here, are clearly worried about what will happen to their babies down there in This Environment. It is all we hear from our parents when we tell them we are going to the game. It’s better to not tell them. And, then they see you on TV. Their parents ? It’s 45 minutes from their campus at the site of The Gator Bowl every year, for God’s sake. While it is more likely that the victim will be a Florida Gator fan, that’s because the largest school in the nation is 45 minutes away from the site and the hotbed of all their recruiting. 2 dozen Gator football players are from Jacksonville, and that list includes Tim Tebow, for example. What ? He’s Won 2 National Championships ? Coming back for his Senior Year ? Heisman Trophy Winner already ?

Bryan Evans.

This is about the players, not the fans.

For 9 years now, Coach Richt has stated unequivocally that we cannot get our players acclimated to the weather in Jacksonville, 6 hours Due South of Athens, in just a day while the crocodiles, live there, went to high school there, and far outnumber UGA.

50 percent larger than UGA, is the University of Florida. 15,000 more students.

And, so they get an extra home game, and we get an extra road game. So this is why we are to play the game in that hellhole Jacksonville ?

For what ?

For you ?

Without so much as a discussion of the players ?

Plane ride, bus ride ?

Hop, skip, and jump from their huge sprawling campus teeming with nearly 50,000 University of Florida students, wearing their cutoffs and driving their pick-up truck with adornments of their spoils of having this year beat us all but 3 times in the last 20 years.


May 17th, 2009
8:03 am


Kyle King, sir ?

And, your reaction Kyle King ?

Our reasoning are all bunk, and Coach Richt must all of a sudden be joking, quoting one of the dimmest of all dimwits, fellow attorney-at-law Senator Bluto that Coach Richt is joking now when for 9 years now, Coach Richt has stated every year that he cannot get his players, who are not except 1 player from Jacksonville, acclimated in 1 day after practicing here in Athens.

Our Stadium is a beautiful stadium, but we go down there to sell not the 6th largest football stadium in the world as is Sanford Stadium every other year, and help out our economy here, but to Jacksonville to put $20 million dollars into their Economy instead.

Brilliant pleas from 2 attorneys, right ?

And, for what ?

As is commonly the case with attorney pleas, they miss the point. They get caught up in the details and cannot see the forest for the trees.

The Game is between the Players.

How about giving one hoot about the players please ?

Renovation of The Gator Bowl ? B.S. They put sheets and tarpaulins over half those seats for this One (1) Game, all the rest of the year. Why is that ? Because when events like the ACC Chumpionship Game are played there, no one goes.

Because their NFL Football “team” has been totally unable to fill the stadium for one game ever.

So they can skirt the blackout rule, and have the game on TV so everyone can watch them lose in that pit they do call The Gator Bowl.

By tendering a ticket and entering the Stadium, ticket holders consent to such searches and waive any related claims that they may have against the Gator Bowl Association. Turn your ticket over, and read it. “Against the Gator Bowl Association.”


May 17th, 2009
8:20 am

crocodile fans have Nothing to say about where we play our “Home” Games, every other year.

[...] 17, 2009 · No Comments Georgia forward Trey Thompkins is staying in Athens. Gerald Robinson JR, a guard from Tennessee Tech is transferring to UGA and [...]