Darius Thompson signs with Tennessee basketball

Travon Landry’s father: ‘Nothing had changed’

Blackman High School point guard Darius Thompson put pen to paper Wednesday, signing a National Letter of Intent to officially becoming the fourth incoming member of coach Cuonzo Martin’s 2013 recruiting class.

“Darius has a very high basketball IQ, and he’s good at making individual plays and also facilitating the offense and getting others involved,” Martin said in a UT press release. “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.”

The Murfreesboro native averaged 16.4 points, 6.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals as a high school senior.

“He’s been recruited to UT as a point guard and I think he’ll be one of the best passers,” Blackman coach Barry Wortman told the News Sentinel. “He’s a heck of a passer in the open floor. I think he’ll make an impact because of his ability to make teammates better. He’s a coach’s son who understands how committed you need to be on a daily basis and he’s still improving.”

Lonnie Thompson, Darius Thompson’s father, is in his 10th season as head coach of NAIA Cumberland University in Lebanon. He previously worked as an assistant at Creighton, Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee State.

Blackman went 56-5 the past two seasons.

“He’s impacted everything in our program,” Wortman said.

With another Letter of Intent expected later this week from 6-10 center Rawane Ndiaye, who committed to UT on Tuesday, the Vols will sit two scholarships over the NCAA limit of 13.

Speculation is the result. Questions continue to stir whether Jarnell Stokes will return to UT or forego his junior year to pursue professional aspirations. Regardless, Thompson’s addition, combined with the Vols’ scholarship situation, has resulted in questions surrounding incoming freshman Travon Landry.

The Huntington Prep point guard committed to UT in December of 2011 while still attending Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala. Playing at Huntington alongside a bevy of Division I talent — including Andrew Wiggins, the national player of the year — Landry averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 assists per game and went 2-for-29 on 3-point attempts this season.

Huntington finished 30-3, ranked No. 7 in the USA Today Super 25.

Landry’s lack of production, though, is a hot-button topic among UT fans.

“I talked to (Tennessee assistant) Tracy (Webster) and, as of two weeks ago, nothing had changed, other than that they had signed another point guard,” Travon Landry’s father, John, told the News Sentinel on Wednesday. “I haven’t been told anything different than what we originally agreed on back at the early signing (period).”

Landry signed his National Letter of Intent with UT on Nov. 15, 2012. A letter of intent stands as a school’s binding agreement to provide financial aide to a student-athlete for one academic year.

A school can grant a student-athlete a “full release” from his or her letter, but only if the student-athlete requests it.

“We understand that there’s pressure on them because the kid didn’t put up big numbers,” John Landry said. “I get that. I understand that. But in terms of a coach coming and saying, ‘John, we have to reconsider,’ we haven’t had that conversation.”

John Landry said Travon Landry’s offensive numbers were skewed this year because of the team-wide talent at Huntington, adding, “If you go back and watch every game they played and reverse it, every kid that Travon had to guard — that kid never scored more than six points.”

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.

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Comments » 21

Big_Orange_Aide writes:

Now what?

voloffaith writes:

As the stomach turns for some.........these are 'the days of our lives'......general hospital....the weak point being this soap opera will play out..........welcome Darius Thompson!!!

jt45 writes:

This Kid will have an immediate impact on next seasons team. I think the Vols will be loaded pretty good if Maymon returns healthy.

born2ride writes:

Thompson could develop into a good player. But I don't understand why Martin signed the JUCO player who only averaged 2 points and 3 rebounds. Seems like another wasted scholarship.

We are 2 over. It must mean Stokes is going to the NBA. Also heard Yemi is transferring. Not good. If Martin does not make the NCAA next year he Is a goner.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Thompson can play; Welcome to the hill..GBO!

totoiv writes:

I only casually follow pro basketball. I know they only have two rounds in the draft. The teams I do follow, the players they drafted have been able to contribute right away, even if off the bench. I still see Stokes as a project. He is getting better, but he needs another year of college ball. Whenever, he went against anyone taller than him he struggled. He got his shot blocked. And guess what, in the pros he will be playing against taller players. Anyone his size or shorter, he can dominate. He has not learned how to position himself against a taller player on a consistent basis.

eduardo writes:

New coach this time next yr. sorry!

LiveFaith writes:

in response to eduardo:

New coach this time next yr. sorry!

Well, I guess you are sorry. OK.

smokeygrowl writes:

in response to born2ride:

Thompson could develop into a good player. But I don't understand why Martin signed the JUCO player who only averaged 2 points and 3 rebounds. Seems like another wasted scholarship.

We are 2 over. It must mean Stokes is going to the NBA. Also heard Yemi is transferring. Not good. If Martin does not make the NCAA next year he Is a goner.

Not necessarily on stokes.

txvolsfan writes:

from all NBA reports I have seen they have Stokes as going back to school for his senior year and not in any mock drafts!!!
GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

mocsandvolsfan writes:

It'd be cool if Stokes DID come back his senior year...but this next year will be his junior I think. He might have the courses in for a senior but he's only had two seasons here and one of those was half a season.

SneakyPete writes:

in response to txvolsfan:

from all NBA reports I have seen they have Stokes as going back to school for his senior year and not in any mock drafts!!!
GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

What? We get him for two more years? Fantastic!!

dcap8424 writes:

in response to txvolsfan:

from all NBA reports I have seen they have Stokes as going back to school for his senior year and not in any mock drafts!!!
GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

Yeah, it doesn't matter if he is in the draft or not because he wouldn't be drafted. Not much call for a average height big man with no range outside of 5 feet. Heck of a rebounder when he tries, but he needs to work on his offensive skills. That spin move is only going to get him so far.

underthehill writes:

in response to txvolsfan:

from all NBA reports I have seen they have Stokes as going back to school for his senior year and not in any mock drafts!!!
GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

It does appear to be an unusually strong draft overall..I did not see Stokes listed but I did notice Young and Murphy..FLA..ranked over 50 on CBS sports..I thought there would be an announcement by now but I think Stokes has no chance to be drafted and will be back...

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

Thompsom is something to watch , i did all year and we are lucky to get him . He makes things happen on he court . WELCOME

1vavolfan writes:

So after next year our lone returning big man will be the Juco from Senegal who averaged 2 points at a Community College. Those of you sold on Cuonzo need to reconsider.

brod writes:

cuonzo knows that there is no excuse for not having a point guard at ut now. too many good point guards within the state. just wish he had signed the kid from lewisburg that went to vandy, and chris jones from memphis.

Ayres_Hall writes:

I thought kids had to declare for the NBA by April 17?

underthehill writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

So after next year our lone returning big man will be the Juco from Senegal who averaged 2 points at a Community College. Those of you sold on Cuonzo need to reconsider.

There may be lot of fans reconsidering..but..Martin will be the coach next year and maybe the one after if his contract is for 4 years..I am hoping he improves is some areas that are causing fans to reconsider..one being public relations..he should have said something by now regarding Stokes..

tneagle writes:

I hope we get Stokes back next year. He is a beast that no one could match up with in strength.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

Something that many may not realize is that CCM may have recruited the best two guards in the State. Hubbs and Thompson will make a impact this Fall. Stokes returns and you're looking at a much different squad than this past season.

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