Hunter Thompson is still trying to wrap his head around it all.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore from Pine Bluffs has always dreamed of playing Division I basketball, but figured he would at least finish his second year of high school before the recruiters took notice. But after a freshman season when he averaged 14.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 31 percent from behind the arc, Thompson wasn’t afforded that grace period.
“I’m getting offers from colleges that I never thought about,” Thompson said. “I’ve been working my whole life to get that offer, but now that they’re here at such a young age it’s kind of shocking to me and my parents. I’m still only 16. I just got my driver’s license.”
That hasn’t stopped some of the top schools in the country from contacting Thompson.
Officials from Arizona, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the country, contacted him last week. Thompson has also been contacted by coaches from such schools as Gonzaga, Utah, Arizona State, Stanford, California, Utah State, Colorado, and, of course, Wyoming.
“There are other schools,” Thompson said, “but those are the main ones.”
Thompson took an unofficial visit to UW the weekend before Thanksgiving. The sophomore was on hand for the Cowboys’ home victory over Colorado on Nov. 22 and also attended the Cowboys’ practice the day before.
Thompson, who plays AAU ball for the Cheyenne-based Wyoming Flight as well as the Utah Prospects out of Salt Lake City, earned some national recognition last month when he was selected for the Top 20 all-star game at the West Coast Elite Basketball Showcase in Salt Lake City.
Joel Francisco, an ESPN high school basketball scout, was impressed with what he saw from Thompson at the camp.
2017 Hunter Thompson (Pine Bluffs/Wyoming) was one of the bigger revelations at WCE Utah camp. The 6-foot-9 skilled 5/4 has touch/skill— Joel Francisco (@JoelFranESPN) November 2, 2014
Despite all the attention, Thompson remains focused on this season. Pine Bluffs returns all five starters to a team that advanced to the state semifinals last year. Thompson scored a game-high 21 points in the Hornets’ season-opening 61-49 victory over Shoshoni on Thursday, with UW head coach Larry Shyatt in attendance.
“I don’t want people to think I’m better than anybody on this team just because I’m getting offers,” Thompson said. “I’m just looking forward to focusing on high school basketball and not college ball. I haven’t given any thought to committing early.”
Of course, that could change if the right school came calling.
“My lifetime goal is to play for the Kansas Jayhawks,” he said, “and I’m not going to sell myself short of my dream.”