Thompkins enters NBA draft; Leslie tests waters, too

(Updated 6 p.m.)

ATHENS — Trey Thompkins has played his last basketball game for Georgia, and Travis Leslie might have done so, too.

Thompkins and Leslie, juniors who were the Bulldogs’ top two scorers and rebounders this past season, announced Tuesday they will enter the NBA draft, although one of them — Leslie — left open the option of withdrawing.

Thompkins said he’ll hire an agent, meaning his decision to enter the draft and end his college career will be irreversible. Leslie said he will not hire an agent at this point, thus preserving the option of pulling out of the draft by the NCAA’s May 8 deadline and returning for his senior season at UGA.

Thompkins’ decision — and potentially Leslie’s — will mean a much different look next season for the Bulldogs, who are coming off a 21-12 season and an NCAA tournament appearance.

Thompkins, a 6-foot-10 forward from Lithonia, averaged 16.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in an injury-filled junior season. Leslie, a 6-4 guard from Decatur, averaged 14.4 points and 7.2 rebounds.

The consensus of draft analysts is that both players likely will be late first-round or early second-round picks, although one service, nbadraft.net, projects Thompkins near the middle of the first round at No. 17. His decision to enter the draft was not a surprise.

“I have spoken with my family and coaches about my situation, and I feel that it’s best for me to forgo my senior season,” Thompkins said in a statement. “I would just like to thank everyone who has supported me in this decision.”

Said coach Mark Fox: “I just feel like he felt like it was his time.”

Leslie, on the other hand, is unsure whether this is his time. He’ll receive a projection of his draft stock from the NBA’s underclassmen advisory committee, and Fox will help him gather information from the league’s 30 general managers. Leslie can begin working out for NBA teams April 29, but can’t do so on days he has classes.

“He is doing just what I think he should do — find out what the NBA thinks about him and [then] make an educated decision with the right facts,” Fox said.

Only first-round picks receive guaranteed contracts, and Fox figures Leslie “would need to hear” that he’ll be a first-rounder. Beyond that, “he’s going to have to make a decision on where his cut line is,” Fox said. “Is his cut line being the 20th pick in the draft? Is it being the 25th pick?”

Leslie declined to comment Tuesday.

Thompkins’ departure, combined with the loss of seniors Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes, ensures that the Bulldogs will be a smaller team next season. That translates to a different style of play.

Fox said he expects forwards Marcus Thornton and Donte Williams, both of whom played sparingly as a freshmen, to be “productive frontline players” next season.

“One thing we haven’t been able to do … is play the style of defense that I want to play because we haven’t been fast enough, quick enough, interchangeable enough, to do that,” Fox said. “Next year there’s a great chance we’ll look a lot more like I want us to defensively.”

But before Fox can formulate a plan for next season, he needs to know whether Leslie will be on the team.

“Obviously, because he’s a great player, [his decision] will impact how we’re going to play,” Fox said. “In the meantime, we’re somewhat in a holding pattern.”

97 comments Add your comment

Dawgfan2012

April 5th, 2011
11:25 am

FIrst? good luck gusy

UGASlobberknocker

April 5th, 2011
11:31 am

I hope Leslie stays another year ..Is he considered a 1st rounder?.

Hunting Dawg

April 5th, 2011
11:31 am

Best wishes in the next step of your life. Thanks for helping revive the bball program.

bucket

April 5th, 2011
11:32 am

This is not a surprise, but I was hoping for Leslie and Thompkins to return for their senior seasons. (I know Leslie is not hiring an agent, but Europe may be calling) Of course, both of those guys probably lost millions by returning last year, so in a way you can’t blame them for leaving. I just figured they couldn’t hurt their draft stock anymore by coming back and trying to go deeper in the tournament.

BYRDDAWG

April 5th, 2011
11:32 am

We’ll miss ya Trey!

Dennis Felton

April 5th, 2011
11:32 am

Second!! I recruited both those dudes before I got das boot.

Trey’s too soft, Travis needs another year to show he can lead.

I don’t like this Coach Fox, he doesn’t stomp his foot wildly on the sidelines when he gets upset.

coachx

April 5th, 2011
11:34 am

Good luck to you both !

I hope Leslie sticks around to improve his perimeter shoot. He should see his scoring oppurtunities increase with Thompkins gone. With an improved perimeter shot Leslie would be a lottery pick next year. Right now he is probably a 2nd round pick. With an immenent NBA lockout looming his best decision may be to stay for his senior year and be the team captain.

dawgster

April 5th, 2011
11:35 am

In my opinion neither one of them are ready, somthing I believe another year in school and playing in the SEC couldn’t help…I guess you can’t blame them with the money being thrown around nowadays, but I really don’t see either one of them having a long career in the NBA, I hope I’m wrong, but I just haven’t seen it compared to other players that I watched this past year. Again, maybe I’m wrong, I do think that Leslie is being smart by leaving the option open at this point…go dawgs

Ron

April 5th, 2011
11:36 am

Typical. All they care about is money. If both came back UGA would be a top 15 team to start the season but they could care less about that. No wonder there is such a big difference between black and white college basketball players graduation rates.

It Ain't Rocket Science

April 5th, 2011
11:37 am

Not bad. Beats a lot of the one and dones in collge BB these days. Just ask Kentucy and probably Conn. after last night. I think they had three freshmen in their starting 5 when introduced. That big bucks lure is hard to resist for folks with talent.

Edawg71

April 5th, 2011
11:40 am

Does this free up a slot for Ware if he decides on UGA?

Rob

April 5th, 2011
11:41 am

Ron – Come on! Don’t need that kind on nonsense.

Wish both would stay but didn’t expect Thompkins to do so. Another year would help both. Same can be said for most players leaving early. Lets wish the young men the best and leave it at that. UGA will be fine. Now with a spot open, go get Kevin Ware to run point.

dawgforever

April 5th, 2011
11:42 am

i REALLY hope Ware gets to start next year…..is that possible to happen????

DogDawg

April 5th, 2011
11:43 am

Well, sorry to see him (them) leave but leaving for the NBA is a great reflection on the UGA basketball program & certainly necessary to attract the elite high school players.

Worm

April 5th, 2011
11:44 am

Good luck to both…Hope Travis will receive credibile info on his draft status.

NC Dawg

April 5th, 2011
11:46 am

BigTimeTECHFan

April 5th, 2011
11:47 am

dawgster
- Agree with you, don’t think both a ready but NBA drafts more on potential. Thompkins has a lot of potential and my guess is he will be 1st round pick, his size will help him a lot, but Leslie will be compared to 100 other players just like him, he can leap, others can shoot, etc, more question mark on Leslie.

Gary

April 5th, 2011
11:48 am

Next year could have been really special if both stayed with the new freshman talent, but you cant blame Thompkins for wanting to earn big bucks. Even though Leslie is a highlight reel star, he still has a lot of work to do on his game to be able to play in the NBA. Unless he just hates going to class, he should stay for another season of quality coaching and a chance to be the new UGA star.

EW

April 5th, 2011
11:49 am

Thanks for helping UGA basketball regain relevancy guys. Best of luck to you both.

JROLL1

April 5th, 2011
11:52 am

MOST YOUNG PLAYERS ARE NOT “REALLY READY” FOR THE NBA, BUT THEY CAN MAKE PLENTY $$$$$ SITTING ON THE BENCH AND LEARNING. TRAVIS NEEDS WORK ON HIS JUMPER, SO HE MAY BE BACK. I THINK EVERYONE KINDA KNEW TREY WAS GONE!

Dawgtards ruin this state

April 5th, 2011
11:58 am

Enjoy your one year over .500 in the conf! Alabama beat you out for that tourney slot that thUGA wasted. NC State’s back in the picture for CMF?

Jody Patton

April 5th, 2011
11:58 am

Travis should stay for another year. Trey is not a first round pick but someone might take a chance on him. He will ride the bench for someone and average 3.5 points per game and get cut after a couple of years. At least he will make a million doing it. Not bad.

Peach Fuzz

April 5th, 2011
11:58 am

Who has most NBA potential, Henson at Unc, or Thomkins? Why will Henson most likely stay while Thomkins leaves?

Bo Williams

April 5th, 2011
12:01 pm

Put on your thinking cap Peach Fuzz. Thomkins might come back too if UGa was favorite to Winn NC next year.

Nate the Great

April 5th, 2011
12:04 pm

Ron- I know!! White players will leave way before the black players. Great call!!! Way to show the rest of the world that you are not stupid and do have something valid to offer society!!

PS If you are a UGA fan…please stop and cheer for Bama or the Barn!! People like you give credence to the “dumb redneck” commits made by the nerds and jort wearers of the world!

smitty

April 5th, 2011
12:07 pm

I hope they both realize that there might not be an NBA season next year. The NBA lockout will be much uglier and much more drawn out than the NFL labor impasse. Good luck to both of them, but hopefully some advisors will at least mention the possibility that they won’t have a paycheck for the next year.

boiler up

April 5th, 2011
12:07 pm

Man, I was really hoping they both would stay.. Final 4 possibly for them and an SEC Championship. I like em and wil be sending my son to UGA camp again, Fox is a fantastic coach.. Boiler Up!!

phil

April 5th, 2011
12:12 pm

Someone is giving these guys terrible advice….

that said, goodbye and good riddance….

We’re better off without them…after all, we won zero NCAA tourney games with them while the Butlers of the world went 10-2….until we get some intelligent players who want to play as a TEAM and actually win something that matters, we will continue to flounder….

boiler – final 4? You must be out of your mind….Fox is not a fantastic coach, by any stretch, but he is good, so hope camp goes well for your kid….

FalconUGAFan

April 5th, 2011
12:12 pm

Best of luck in the future! Thanks for your time at UGA.

RUNDAWGRUN

April 5th, 2011
12:25 pm

Going to early…second round draft choice’s contracts are not guaranteed. Charles Barkley was asked who he saw in the tournament that was ready to come out early and play in the NBA. His response was, nobody. Same thing here.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

April 5th, 2011
12:28 pm

Lockout? should have stayed.

GEORGIA97

April 5th, 2011
12:46 pm

Thompkins better learn to hit a free throw or else he’ll be pumping gas at the Stinky Pinky Gulp & Guzzle Big Rig Snooze-A-Stop.

Greg

April 5th, 2011
12:46 pm

Wow Ron, nice comment. As a UGA alum, I don’t fault guys for going and getting their money. If my son was ever in this situation I would advise him to get paid while he could. It is all well and good to show “loyalty” in theory, but if any of these early entrants were to get seriously injured, I doubt very many fans would be lining up to reward them for being loyal. Good look to Trey in the NBA and wish Travis the best with whatever decision he makes.

coondawg69

April 5th, 2011
12:48 pm

CMF will now have to prove his salary. Samething happened at Nevada… had a young and talented prospect that left early and nobody was left to pick up the slack. 9-7 with Howard….. I am guessing 5 SEC next year.
Time to start thinking about recruiting Milton and Norcross HS!! (Getting Nolte from Furman might be the start!!!)

Mr. SEC

April 5th, 2011
12:58 pm

2 more UGA’s that can’t pass at UGA, maybe they can get enough money to get some tatoo’s.

JB

April 5th, 2011
1:02 pm

Only Duke gets the kids to stay and support THE TEAM. But, if I had several million waiting and couldn’t buy a burger. i might go also.

Dale

April 5th, 2011
1:04 pm

Thanks Trey. We’ll miss you. You’ll always be family.

Upstate Dawg

April 5th, 2011
1:10 pm

Sorry to hear this news but I wish them both continued success.

pete

April 5th, 2011
1:12 pm

neither guy will be a first rounder.

59bulldawg

April 5th, 2011
1:16 pm

Thanks guys! Nothing but fond memories and much appreciation for the both of you.

jarvis

April 5th, 2011
1:29 pm

I used to cruise the Stinky Pinky Gulp & Guzzle Big Rig Snooze-A-Stop back in the day.

Hector

April 5th, 2011
1:36 pm

Now back to the drawing board!!

Beast from the East

April 5th, 2011
1:36 pm

Congrats to both young men. Would like to see you both stick around to compete in the SEC again next year, but we all understand the desire to go to the next level. Best of luck.

ormewood

April 5th, 2011
1:47 pm

JB, Duke has had plenty of kids leave early. They’re likely to lose a kid this season who played 11 games total in his college career.

Douglas

April 5th, 2011
1:49 pm

So let me get this straight: Thompkins was pre-season SEC and finished on the first team all SEC the last two years and you don’t think he is ready? I appreciate him staying — some of you idiots don’t know what you are talking about — that’s why you don’t coach bball! I hope Ware gets offered a scholarship now.

Steve

April 5th, 2011
1:54 pm

I am not going to congratulate either as they are both making poor decisions.

Thompkins is seen as being too soft and not nearly as good as many thought when he first entered college. He needed another year to work on his tenacity and show more heart. He is softer than Marvin Williams with about 60% of the talent. He will be an NBA bust and if he had stayed another year maybe it would have helped him avoid getting a label in his rookie year.

Leslie is an absolute gamer. He has the physical tools of Ranjon Rondo, but lacks the true PG ability. So, he is basically a PG that can’t play point. He certainly isn’t a SG as he has not proven he can shoot at all. He needs one more year to work on his shot.

collegeballfan

April 5th, 2011
1:55 pm

Thompkins has proven he can play with any other player in the country. He has nothing to gain by returning next season.

I just do not know on Leslie. He is a solid athlete and a solid basketball player. And he seems to have a great attitude. But there are thousands of subperb guard types out there.

Thompkins leaving opens up a spot for Kevin Ware doesn’t it?

Alabama | MrSEC.com

April 5th, 2011
1:56 pm

[...] Just a couple more notes for you this afternoon:1.  Tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen’s role could grow at Auburn as Gus Malzahn tweaks his non-Cam Newton offense.2.  This writer says Stanley McClover and the rest of “the HBO Four” should tell the whole truth to the NCAA… if they really want to fix college athletics.3.  Speaking of McClover, his mouth could save some Auburn students some money.4.  CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd had a little fun with John Calipari at the Final Four and he caught some hell from some UK fans for it.  He responds by telling Cat fans: “Sometimes we give you stuff you need to read, as opposed to what you want to read.”  5.  Speaking of Calipari, he’s lined up the top recruiting class in the country.  For the third straight year he’s done this.  Oy.6.  Tennessee has a crowded secondary this spring.7.  Georgia’s Travis Leslie plans to test the NBA draft waters without signing with an agent.  [...]

Mr. Dawg

April 5th, 2011
1:56 pm

As a Bulldog fan this is isappointing but not surprising news. Good luck to them both. If they’re going to make the jump then I want them to do well.

collegeballfan

April 5th, 2011
1:57 pm

Make that ” SUPERB”. Sorry