As part of my trip to Sacramento last week, I also stopped by Grant High School to talk to Shaquille Thompson and also spoke with a few family members and others about the player that is one of the most highly-rated UW signees in years.
Here’s the story that resulted.
A few items that may be worth expanding:
— Baseball: Thompson says his sudden return to baseball “could be serious.” As explained in the story, the family feels this could be a real legitimate alternative option for Thompson and he plans to play this spring at Grant with the intent of getting drafted.
Other than as a sophomore, he hasn’t really played since sixth grade.
“I just have to get back into it because I stopped playing after my sixth grade year,” he said. “I didn’t really have anybody working with me on baseball like now. I am having some people working with me who played in college, and Triple AAA and really getting me to understand the game of baseball, the mechanics of swinging the at and throwing and catching and fielding.”
He said he’s always liked baseball but had decided to run track, instead, in past springs. He may try to do both this spring.
“I was always interested (in baseball),” he said. “I just wanted to get back into it and feel the game some more.”
That UW was willing to let Thompson play baseball helped seal the deal.
“UW has already given us 8-10 weeks (per summer) in the minor leagues,” said B.T. Thompson, an uncle and father figure to Shaquille.
— Tosh Lupoi: As the story notes, Thompson and his family resist the notion that was the sole reason — or even a significant one — for why he switched from Cal to UW. They say Lupoi’s departure did help cement Thompson’s decision to reconsider his options but that he had already been leaning in that direction after Justin Wilcox was hired at UW. Thompson says Lupoi “completely stopped” recruiting him once he got to UW, leaving it to Steve Sarkisian and the defensive back coaches. “Even before Tosh went there, UW was still in the top, no matter what,” he said, repeating that then Lupoi got to UW “he stopped recruiting me.”
Wilcox’s ties with B.T. Thompson go back years to Wilcox’s time at Oregon when he played with some friends of Thompson.
James Sample’s presence on the UW roster was also a big deal as he was referred to several times as Thompson’s “best friend.” I also hadn’t realized that C.J. Wallace is a cousin of Thompson’s, a tie that also helped play a small role.
— Another reason UW was always high on his list is that the family has some ties to the area. Patty Thompson’s father was in the Army and stationed for a time at Fort Lewis and there are some assorted aunts and uncles in the area. One who used to live in the area but had relocated to Sacramento is planning to move back to the Seattle area to be close to Shaquille during his UW career.
— Finally, I hadn’t completely realized it until going through all the lists, but Shaquille Thompson is the only player rated a five-star recruit by both Scout.com and Rivals.com to sign with UW since 2002 (when the data bases for each begin). Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins were each four-star recruits by Rivals.com, for instance. I’d assume that Reggie Williams would have gotten similar ratings as Thompson if each did its ratings the same as now.
What follows below is first, some video of a couple minutes of the interview with Thompson — we were standing in a hallway at Grant High outside the weight room where the football team was lifting, so that’s the other noise you hear.
And following that is a couple of minutes of video of Grant High.
[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1453219499001″][/do]
[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”1453231807001″][/do]