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Hunter Thompson receives recognition from scouts


A Pine Bluffs Hornet has received a lot of recognition from top basketball officials for his knowledge and love for basketball as he begins his sophomore season on Dec. 1.

For the past few months, Hunter Thompson has been practicing for his next high school basketball season. He has been going to open gym and plays with the Wyoming Flight team in Cheyenne. Thompson was also invited to the West Coast Elite Basketball Showcase on Nov. 1, in Salt Lake, Utah.

About 200 kids were invited to the basketball showcase. Thompson said all the players who were invited were evaluated into the top 40s and 20s and played games based on their ranking. Thompson made the top 20 all-star game. Several scouts and reporters including Joel Francisco, an ESPN college scout, and Frank Burlison, 2005 U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Famer, were present to watch the players.

“2017 Hunter Thompson (Pine Bluffs/Wyoming) was one of the bigger revelations at WCA Utah camp. The 6-foot-8 skilled 5/4 has touch/skill,” Francisco tweeted on Twitter.

Burlison mentioned Thompson in his “Three 2016 (Utah) Prospects dazzle in SLC Saturday” article on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Thompson said he received a lot of good comments from the scouts. They told Thompson he wasn’t as selfish as some of the other players. Thompson said some players go into the all-star games trying to show off how talented they are. It’s important to go into the all star-games not trying to make all the points, but playing defense, rebounding, running the floor and being a good teammate.

“It’s not all about individual performances, it’s about the team. If we come together as a team, then I think we can beat anyone,” Thompson said.

One of the lectures from the basketball showcase really stuck with Thompson. Thompson’s mentor held up a basketball and said, “All of us have created a bond because of this single basketball; but when the ball is out of life, what are you going to do? How are you going to incorporate yourself other than basketball?”

Thompson said he would like to bring this idea to his basketball teammates this year.

“Pine Bluffs is a big sports town and we need to focus on our relationships on and off the court,” Thompson said.

During his sophomore basketball season, Thompson said he would like to be a more vocal leader and show how much he has improved over the summer. Thompson also said he looks forward to playing the Lusk Tigers. Thompson has friends on that team, so it is fun for him to play against his friends.

“They always seem to kick our butts, so I would like to give them back the butt-kicking,” Thompson said.

Will Gray, Pine Bluffs basketball coach said he would like to see Thompson play at the level he’s capable of playing at and to continue to be a good teammate.

Thompson’s goal is to win a state championship. The Hornets made it to the Semi-Finals last year, but lost in double over time. Just making it to state is one of Hunter’s greatest achievements.

Ever since Thompson was a little kid, he wanted to be a freshman starting varsity.

“Freshman basketball season was a good learning experience,” Thompson said.

Coach Gray said Thompson competed very well playing varsity during his first season of high school basketball. Gray said the game is not always about scoring and being the best on the floor. It’s about going out and competing. Gray also said Thompson loves to play defense and he loves to rebound.

“Defense is all about heart,” Thompson said.

“When you’re playing defense, you have to know the game and be able to understand what’s going on around the court. You have to know what the offense is trying to do and take away their options,” Gray said.

Thompson said a player he tries to play like is James Harden, shooting guard for Houston Rockets.

Aside than his long beard, Thompson looks up to Harden because he is quiet on the court but has a heart of a lion. Harden is also left-handed. Thompson said he’s always wanted to be a left-handed shooter and has been practicing shooting right and left-handed.

Todd Thompson, Thompson’s dad, said his son is currently being recruited by Utah State, Colorado University and the University of Wyoming. While Thompson was in Utah for the basketball showcase, he toured the University of Utah and visited with head coach Larry Ktystokowiak, who played 10 years in the NBA.

Thompson said he doesn’t let scouts get to him. He’s only 16-years-old and still has a lot of time to grow. However, he does enjoy growing relationships with the coaches and players. Thompson said he’s looking forward to where his decision takes him.

Thompson said he started playing basketball when he was in kindergarten, when his dad was Pine Bluffs High School basketball coach. His dad would take him to practice. Thompson said his dad told him if he kept practicing basketball, then he would be good at it one day. So, Thompson started playing more and fell in love with basketball.

Thompson’s dad, along with Mark Fornstrom, coached Thompson and his classmates since second grade. Todd Thompson said the boys played in tournaments all over Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota from second grade to eighth grade.

Thompson recalls a funny time when he was in sixth grade and was about to play a game in Ogallala. The team had some down time and went to get food at KFC. Thompson and his friend, Kyle Steger, accidentally ordered family meals. They both had to eat everything they ordered. They both ended up throwing up and had to sit out of the game. Thompson said he hasn’t eaten KFC since.

Coach Gray reminds Thompson to not forget about his friends, girlfriend and parents. Just be a kid at Pine Bluffs High school and continue to do what he’s doing.


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