As Kyle alluded to this morning, Coach Felton received a verbal pledge from Lithonia native and Oak Hill (Va.) star Howard "Trey" Thompkins. Thompkins is a 6'8, 225-ish power forward. That wouldn't make him at all unique on Felton's squad. What separates Thompkins is the fact that he already has a very good game facing the basket. While he hasn't really physically developed yet, it's not hard to imagine Thompkins as Takais Brown with a better outside game, and the ability to distribute the ball and even occasionally drive the lane. That thought makes me happy. Very happy.
While it is always huge to pick up a five star recruit, this one is particularly significant. If Thompkins holds true to his pledge, he would easily be the most hyped recruit Felton's actually gotten to Athens, and the first player from the perennial powerhouse Atlanta Celtics AAU team to choose the Dawgs in roughly 7 years. Thompkins is also promising to go after other five star talent from around the state, specifically Rome center Tony Woods, the #3 center prospect in the country, and Al-Farouq Aminu, Thompkins' former teammate at Wesleyan and the #3 player in the country for 2008 according to Rivals. Right now the Dawgs have one, possibly two more scholarships to give for 2008. Either one of these guys would be absolutely huge pickups for building the program.
Georgia still has a long, long way to go to beat out the best programs in the country for Aminu and Woods. However Thompkins commitment, which was partially the result of his desire to play close to home, signals Felton's ability to get some of the best players in the absolutely loaded state of Georgia, most of whom have historically bypassed Athens like it was downtown Watkinsville. This is also incredibly satisfying (and improbable) because Thompkins chose the Dawgs over the defending national champion Gators. Few and brief are the sunshiny days for UGA basketball fans, at least for now. But this is definitely one of them.