LaSalle "PJ" Thompson has an important few months of basketball ahead. The rising point guard in the Class of 2014 knows what happens over the summer will be the difference between schools merely being interested in his skills or offering him a scholarship.
Right now that list includes a growing number of programs. Ball State is recruiting him hard. DePaul wants him to take an unofficial visit. Vanderbilt called him just this week, and St. Louis and Oregon State contacted him recently as well. And don't leave out Butler and Purdue who have shown interest in him.
“I'm just waiting to see what comes my way,” Thompson said about his recruitment. “I'll finish out July, finish out as strong as possible and see if I can get some more offers. I know some schools are right there with offering.”
Most recently this meant playing at the Memorial Day Run-n-Slam this weekend at Spiece Fieldhouse for the Indy Ice. This is a slight change for Thompson who had been playing as a backup point guard for the Spiece Indy Heat, a team loaded with four of the top 50 recruits for his class.
“I've known these guys and I grew up playing with them since I was playing in about second grade when we started our organization,” Thompson said about playing with the Ice. “It's good to get back on the floor with them and compete. It's a little different level than the (Nike) EYBL (the schedule the Heat play), but it's fun.”
With the Indy Ice, Thompson gets a few more minutes compared to the Heat. This helped him to demonstrate his outside shooting and the ability to not be taken advantage of despite his 5-foot-10 frame.
“I feel like I am undersized at the college level, but I feel I can bring some things to the table that maybe a bigger guard couldn't do,” Thompson said. “They (bigger guard) may try to post me up, but I try to out think them and outsmart them and use the strength I have to not let them post me up.”
These abilities are what have him gaining more offers and interest from larger schools. He has been on Ball State's radar for some time and the Cardinals new head coach James Whitford has made sure Thompson knows he wants him on the Muncie campus.
“(Whitford's) coming at me strong,” Thompson said. “I like that he's coached at a big school, so I know he's well respected at that level and he wants to win and that's what I want to do.
“He likes the way I play, and he said he's not going to let a head coach out recruit him.”
Whitford has plenty to compete against for Thompson right now, though. The Brebeuf High School senior-to-be had plenty of good things to say about Butler and Purdue as well. Both schools he said have called him to see how the end of his junior year has gone academically.
“It's a hometown school and in the Big Ten, it's a great level to play at,” Thompson said of the Boilermakers. “Coach (Matt) Painter and Coach (Jack) Owens, I've been talking to them since the eighth grade, so I know them well, the kind of style they play and all that stuff. Purdue is a good fit.”
For now, though, Thompson still has a summer AAU season to try and earn an offer from some of these larger schools. He plans to take some unofficial visits, including one to Ball State, with official visits in the fall followed by making his final decision before his senior high school season.
“I'll play out July and see how that goes, see if Purdue is going to offer, Butler, a few other schools and see if I can pick-up some new interest and new offers,” Thompson said. “Then, I'll narrow it down after that depending on who offers.”