Saturday, March 19, 2011
Texas' Tristan Thompson to return
By Pat Forde ESPN.com
TULSA, Okla. -- Texas freshman forward Tristan Thompson delivered some good news to Longhorns fans Saturday by declaring that he will return to school for his sophomore season.
"I'm coming back another year," Thompson said repeatedly in the Texas locker room at BOK Center, where the team was going to practice in preparation for its Sunday round-of-32 game against Arizona. "I've already signed up for summer classes."
Texas men's basketball SID Scott McConnell said multiple media outlets reported that sophomore Jordan Hamilton also said he will return next season.
"I'm coming back next year," Hamilton told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. "I think we will have a great team."
Texas officials cautioned that one or both of the players could change their minds after the season.
There are plenty of players who have talked a good game about staying in school during the season, then declared for the draft afterward, but Thompson didn't leave himself any wiggle room in his statements.
He said one of his prime motivations is to play next year at Texas with fellow Canadian and incoming recruit Myck Kabongo, who will be on campus in Austin next school year. Kabongo is the No. 2 point guard and No. 9 overall prospect in ESPNU's top 100 prospects for 2011.
"I'll come back another year for him," Thompson said. "I'd love to play with him."
Thompson certainly has a viable NBA draft stock right now. ESPN.com draft analyst Chad Ford currently rates the 6-foot-8, 233-pound Thompson the No. 11 overall prospect -- and that was before Thompson got the best of his head-to-head matchup with 6-foot-11 Oakland senior center Keith Benson here Friday.
Ford rates Benson the No. 45 prospect in the draft.
Texas coach Rick Barnes did not sound surprised by Thompson's declaration, but he did sound pleased.
"He's the kind of guy who has never had an agenda," Barnes said. "I know what he wants to do in basketball and the kind of player he wants to be. I think he loves where he is right now."
Pat Forde is a senior writer for ESPN.com.