ATHENS — Several folks have inquired on the blog about whether Trey Thompkins will consider entering this year’s NBA draft.
The answer appears to be: Maybe, but not yet.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” Thompkins, UGA’s sophomore forward, said Wednesday, “just because I want to take care of this season before I let anything else come to mind.”
He did not seriously consider the NBA draft after his freshman season because “I knew personally I wasn’t ready.” But after making significant strides as a sophomore, will he face a more difficult decision?
“I don’t know,” Thompkins said. “Once I think about it, then it might be [more difficult]. But I haven’t really given it much thought yet.”
When he gets around to deciding on the draft, Thompkins said the promise of a resurgent Georgia program will be a factor.
“Yeah, because I want to be known as a guy who helped the program go from where it was to where it will be,” he said.
The 6-foot-10 Thompkins is the SEC’s second leading scorer (17.6 points per game) and fourth leading rebounder (8.2 per game). With four regular-season games remaining for Georgia (12-13, 4-8 SEC), including Thursday night’s at Vanderbilt, Thompkins is pleased with his progress from his freshman season.
“I became a much better player,” he said, “and with the coaching change, it didn’t slow that process at all. Coach Fox came right in and kept working with us as a team and let me know things individually I have to improve, and I worked on those things and I became a better player.”
The website NBADraft.net does not include Thompkins in its 2010 mock draft but projects both Thompkins and his UGA teammate Travis Leslie, also a sophomore, as solid first-round picks in 2011. Thompkins said he doesn’t pay attention to such projections.
“If that’s what people say, that’s what people say,” he said. “We just try to stay within our team and stay focused on the task at hand.”
A few other basketball notes:
– In an oddity of historical proportions, Georgia moved ahead of storied North Carolina in college basketball’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) standings early this week. “I know,” UGA coach Mark Fox said Wednesday. “My 9-year-old son told me that last night.” Tuesday’s RPI had Georgia No. 89 and the reeling Tar Heels No. 92.
– Georgia will be playing its 10th road game of the season Thursday, still seeking its first victory in an opponent’s arena. “We are a lot better team away from home than we were the first couple of trips,” Fox said. “I mean, we’ve got everybody bringing their sneakers now. We’re growing.” Three players famously forgot to carry their sneakers on a November trip to Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia’s first road game of the season. The key to getting a win on the road, Fox said, is to play soundly at both ends of the court and in transition for the full 40 minutes.
– Thompkins said a road victory would be “like a weight off our shoulders. We’re working so hard to get it.” Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym is a famously difficult place for a visitor to win, and after Thursday night Georgia has just one road game remaining — the March 6 regular-season finale at LSU.
– At Vandy’s gym, the benches are on opposite baselines rather than on the sideline, meaning communication between coach and players can be impossible at times. Fox doesn’t seem worried. “Our players — do they listen to me anyway? I don’t know,” he said. “Seriously, I don’t know. So I guess we’ll find out if they’ve been listening.”
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