Commentary

Thompson said to be leaving St. Benedict's

Updated: February 13, 2009, 11:53 AM ET
By Chris Lawlor | ESPNRISE.com

Tristan Thompson, a day after he was told he no longer was a member of the St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) boys' basketball team, could be leaving the national powerhouse ranked No. 8 in the ESPN RISE FAB 50 rankings.

[+] EnlargeTristan Thompson
Jason O. Watson for ESPN.com Tristan Thompson is part of Texas' 2010 class.

Ro Russell, Thompson's Toronto-based AAU coach, told ESPN RISE Thursday night that he expects Thompson will be transferring to another school in the U.S. "perhaps by early next week."

Thompson is in good academic standing and an NCAA qualifier, Russell said.

"He's headed to a better situation, a positive environment," said Russell, who coaches the Grassroots Canada Elite. "There came a boiling point the other day; Tristan regrets anything happened.

"He's closed one chapter and ready to open another somewhere else. This negativity's been going on for a while; Tristan's been thinking of a change for a while."

Thompson, a highly skilled 6-9 junior post from Canada, is on the ESPNU 60 player watch list. Thompson and St. Benedict's coach Dan Hurley apparently clashed during Tuesday's game against Passaic Tech (Wayne), touching off the dismissal.

"He did a couple of things on the floor, in public. Danny's hands were tied," St. Benedict's assistant Joe Sokolewicz said. "We're moving on."

Thompson, a University of Texas recruit, did not immediately return phone calls.

In his final game, he scored 15 of his 20 points in the opening quarter in the Gray Bees' 92-57 victory. St. Benedict's dropped a pair of games last week -- to No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) and in-state rivals No. 3 St. Patrick (Elizabeth) -- and is 20-2 heading into Saturday's game with regionally ranked Mountain State Academy (Beckley, W.Va.) at the Prime Time Shootout in Trenton, N.J.

With Thompson's departure, speculation is that Texas-bound sophomore guard Myck Kabongo also might bolt. The pair have been friends since growing up in Toronto.