Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin announced Wednesday that in-state guard Darius Thompson has signed a National Letter of Intent to become a student-athlete at UT. Thompson is expected to enroll this summer, and he will be a freshman for the Volunteers next season.
Thompson is currently a senior at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he was coached by Barry Wortman.
As a senior this spring, the 6-4, 180-pound Thompson averaged 16.4 points, 6.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game while leading Blackman to a 30-1 overall record and a second straight berth in the Tennessee Class AAA state quarterfinals.
In the win over Ooltewah that gave the Blaze their second straight District 7-AAA sectional title, Thompson – the 2013 District MVP – logged 24 points, 11 assists and five steals.
Blackman compiled a 56-5 overall record in Thompson’s final two seasons.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Darius and his parents, and I’m excited that he’s chosen to be a Vol,” Martin said of the two-time TSWA Class AAA All-State performer. “Darius has a very high basketball IQ, and he’s good at making individual plays and also facilitating the offense and getting others involved. At 6-4, he’s got good size for a point guard. He’s a proven scorer who can shoot it with range, and I’m confident that he’s going to be able to help us in a number of areas.”
A 2013 McDonald’s All-American nominee, Thompson also was a 2013 Tennessee Class AAA Mr. Basketball finalist, along with fellow UT signee Robert Hubbs III of Dyer County High School.
“Of all the head coaches who recruited me, I felt like I had the best relationship with coach Martin,” Thompson said. “And it means a lot when the head coach develops that kind of relationship with you.
“On my visit, I got to hang out with the team. Being around the guys and seeing the great support they have at Tennessee, it blew me away. After that, I knew that was where I wanted to be. It’s also good that I can stay close to home and keep the support system that I have intact.”
A point guard who also has experience playing off the ball, Thompson was rated by 247Sports.com as the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect at his position and the eighth-best overall prospect in the state of Tennessee.
He played AAU ball for the Team Nashville program, which is coached by Carlton Battle.
Thompson – whose father, Lonnie Thompson, is the head men’s basketball coach at Cumberland University – chose UT over Alabama, Auburn, Butler, NC State, Vanderbilt and Virginia. Darius Thompson is Martin’s third in-state signee at Tennessee, joining Hubbs of Newbern and 2011 signee Jarnell Stokes of Memphis.
Tennessee’s 2013 signing class now consists of Thompson, Hubbs, guard Travon Landry and guard/forward A.J. Davis.