Potential Hoya: Taurean Thompson
Georgetown's basketball program is traditionally known for its big men. This season, senior Bradley Hayes has enjoyed a breakout season, exceeding any reasonable expectations. However, Hayes's impending graduation means that there will be room for another big man on campus starting next season. Taurean Thompson, a New York City native who is currently attending Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, is one of the top available prospects in his class. Could he become Georgetown's next big man?
Weight: 220 pounds
Year: High school senior
School: Brewster Academy (New Hampshire)
Recruiting Profile: Class of 2016
ESPN: 4-star recruit, #86 prospect
Rivals: 4-star recruit, #84 prospect
247Sports: 4-star recruit, #63 prospect
Thompson is a long, lean big man prospect with an athletic build. He is not an overly explosive athlete, but he is a quick jumper with good timing and instinct. On the high school circuit, this allows him to be an effective rebounder and shot blocker. He is particularly effective as an offensive rebounder, often crashing the glass and putting the ball back in the hoop before the defender has a chance to react.
Offensively, Thompson has good touch around the rim and has strong hands to corral passes on the interior. In addition, Thompson can step out and shoot out to around 15-17 feet, which is a good asset for a big man prospect. In the long run, Thompson could be a nice inside-outside threat.
Like a lot of big man prospects, Thompson would benefit from adding some weight to his frame before he gets to the college game. It's not an issue at the high school level, but in the Big East, he might have more difficulty establishing position on both ends of the floor. In addition, his back-to-the-basket game is not a huge part of his offensive skill set at this point in his career.
Overall, Thompson is a slightly raw prospect, but with a great deal of potential for the future. In time, he could be a solid player on both ends of the floor.
Thompson has done a good job keeping his recruitment under wraps thus far. He has taken official visits to Syracuse and Xavier and has additional offers from Providence and Seton Hall, but hasn't revealed much information beyond that. For a while, Syracuse has been considered the favorite for Thompson's services, but Georgetown has gotten into the mix recently.
This season, Thompson has attended two games at Verizon Center and has taken a brief tour of the campus. The Georgetown coaching staff has also attended some of his games. According to Casual sources, the Hoyas have recently offered Thompson a scholarship, and there appears to be at least some level of mutual interest between the two parties.
In addition, there are a few connections that could work in Georgetown's favor. Before transferring to Brewster Academy, Thompson played at St. Anthony's High School in New Jersey alongside guard Jagan Mosely, who has committed to Georgetown for next season. Thompson and Mosely also played together on the summer circuit for the Playaz Basketball Club, the top AAU program in New Jersey, and those types of relationships can do nothing but help on the recruiting front.
Georgetown has also developed a nice relationship with Brewster Head Coach Jason Smith and his program. If Thompson were to choose Georgetown, it would be the third consecutive year that Brewster sent a forward prospect to the Hilltop, following Isaac Copeland in the Class of 2014 and Marcus Derrickson in the Class of 2015. Brewster is one of the top high school programs in the country, and this would be an excellent pipeline for Georgetown to develop.
Because Thompson plans to pick a school during the spring signing period, he is one of the top remaining unsigned prospects in the Class of 2016. As of now, Georgetown's 2016 recruiting class consists of one guard, Mosely, and it would seem that there is at least a possibility that Thompson could join Mosely next season and add a big man to the incoming class.
After Hayes's graduation, current freshman Jessie Govan is expected to step into the starting role at the center position. However, there is no true backup center on next year's roster, and Thompson would presumably have the opportunity to compete with Trey Mourning and Akoy Agau for those minutes. In the long run, Thompson could step into a larger role at either power forward or center.
Thompson also brings a skill set that is largely absent on the Hoyas' current roster. Govan is a talented offensive player, but he is not much of a shot blocker, and Georgetown could also use some help on the glass. Thompson would provide an injection of size and athleticism to the Hoyas' roster that could help the team, particularly when Thompson adds some more muscle and develops his offensive game.
As a prospect, Thompson reminds me of former Hoya big man Mikael Hopkins. The two have similar size and Hopkins was similarly regarded in recruiting circles, but Thompson's jumper could help him reach a higher potential on the offensive end. As maligned as Hopkins was during his time at Georgetown, he was a four-year contributor who provided athleticism, shot blocking, and toughness. If Thompson has a career similar to that of Hopkins, he would be a worthy addition to the roster.
At this stage in the season, Thompson is probably the best available option to add a big man. He brings the right combination of talent and long-term potential — Georgetown could add a graduate transfer, but that player would only be able to play for one season. In addition, the Hoyas currently have two open scholarships on next year's roster, and it would seem prudent to add at least one more player into the mix for next season.
In my opinion, if Thompson wants to come to Georgetown, it's a no-brainer to bring him in. Adding a consensus top-100 big man prospect this late in the recruiting cycle would be a major recruiting coup for John Thompson III and his staff, particularly because their most direct competition would be Jim Boeheim and the hated Syracuse Orange.
Right off the bat, Thompson might not be ready to assume a starting role, but he could bring athleticism and energy off the bench in spot minutes. As he develops physically, he could develop into a good two-way player and take on a larger role.
I think I am personally most excited by Thompson's potential impact on defense. Hayes has been a great story, but he does not have the best lateral movement and has struggled in pick and roll defense at times. Thompson is a natural shot blocker who could add a new skill set to the roster, and in my opinion it is always good to have a roster that features players with diverse skill sets. It might be difficult for the Hoyas to add this caliber of player after getting involved this late, but if they can, it would certainly be a worthwhile addition.