When Deon Thompson returns to school in September, he'll have quite the "what did you do last summer" story to tell. Starting the summer, the 6-foot-8, 250-pound power forward from Torrance, Calif., was holding a handful of offers from some mid-major programs in the West. In just three weeks, the newly crowned four-star prospect has been one of the hottest recruits in the country.
Prior to the ABCD camp, Thompson's suitors included Pepperdine, Kent State and Nevada. All had offered and hoped to watch their sleeper play the summer out. Even with the interest from the mid-majors, the big man said he wasn't sure if his list would even grow after the prestigious camp.
"Honestly, I think I started really slow there," Thompson said. At the camp, he joked that the best part of the time in Teaneck was the food.
While he discounts his performance at the ABCD camp, he did play his way onto the "must see in Las Vegas" list for a number of high-major programs.
When he went to Las Vegas with his Branch West AAU team, he brought a different mindset.
"It was just way different out there for me," Thompson said. "I looked at it as a chance to end my last summer on the AAU circuit really strong."
Mission accomplished. After shining in Las Vegas at the Big Time tournament, Thompson said he picked up scholarship offers from Connecticut, Wake Forest, Gonzaga and UCLA. After the final tournament of the year in Los Angeles, he landed two big offers from North Carolina and Kentucky.
How many students from Torrance High School can say that? Thompson, the No. 69 ranked player in the class of 2006, can.
Thompson has already set up an official visit with North Carolina on Sept. 30. He's in the process of setting up trips to UConn and Wake Forest, he said. Thompson said he's holding the final two open for now until he decides on where he'll want to go.
"I know I will take all five visits," Thompson said. "I just don't know where yet. The first three are for sure. There are just too many things to consider."
The big fella has a plan. He, his mother and coaches identified seven schools last weekend that he would consider. UNC, Connecticut, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Arizona State, Gonzaga and UCLA are in the mix. The only school to offer before July was Arizona State.
Now the kid who was talking about the food at the ABCD camp is refocusing his time to the weight room and now having conversations with the likes of Roy Williams, Tubby Smith, Skip Prosser, Jim Calhoun and other top coaches in the college game.
Talk about a great story to tell on the first day of school.