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can thompkins lead dogs to brighter days? *special basketball signing day report*


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can thompkins lead dogs to brighter days?

by chip towers

the atlanta journal-constitution

published on: 11/14/07 there wasn't a whole lot of suspense at howard "trey" thompkins' signing ceremony wednesday at the wesleyan school.

the students, teachers and parents that filed into the school library were greeted with a red and black georgia cake, a bulldogs basketball and red and black balloons. and when thompkins finally sat down at a table with two classmates to put his signature on an official letter of intent, he did so with a uga tie around his neck.

at that moment, you could almost hear the sighs of relief coming from 50 miles away in athens. while thompkins committed to georgia in may, florida, kentucky and georgia tech never stopped recruiting him, his father said.

"let's just say they've been in touch," howard thompkins jr. said with a wide grin.

and why wouldn't they? the 6-foot-8, 225-pounder is ranked as the no. 7 power forward in the nation by scout.com, no. 10 by rivals.com. as such, thompkins becomes the bulldogs' biggest signee since louis williams in 2005.

thompkins was one of three recruits to sign with georgia on wednesday. along with 6-foot point guard dustin ware of north cobb christian and 6-8 wing drazen slovaric of weston (fla.) sagemont by way of novi sad, serbia, the trio gives the bulldogs their most highly regarded recruiting class under coach dennis felton.

that it would come during a period when felton is still rebuilding georgia basketball and still having to overcome countless setbacks while doing so makes it that much more encouraging.

at the moment, three players are suspended and another was kicked off the team for various violations of school, team and athletic department policy.

all the while, thompkins never wavered.

"it's not the university's fault, that's the way i see it," he said. "guys make decisions on their own. as a man, you make decisions and you have to live with them. but one of the things that helped my decision is how georgia has overcome these things. they've been on the rise since all that has happened and i want to be a part of that."

ware, who had a signing ceremony of his own wednesday in kennesaw, echoed thompkins' sentiments.

"i see nothing but upside at georgia," ware said. "i talk to [thompkins and slovaric] all the time and we talk about going there to try to change the way people view georgia basketball."

for the longest while, it appeared thompkins would be a lock to go to florida. he'd listed the gators as his favorite since he left atlanta to attend prep school powerhouse oak hill academy prior to his junior season.

but it was during that year away in mouth of wilson, va., that thompkins decided being far from home wasn't what he wanted. he returned to atlanta last may and re-enrolled at wesleyan, where starred as a sophomore, and decided 50 miles from home was better than 500 any day.

"georgia's situation for me was one of the best in the country," said thompkins, who shared the limelight wednesday with teammate tanner smith, who signed with clemson, and betsy smith, who signed a volleyball scholarship with florida. "it being 45 minutes away makes it that much better. yes, my family played a big role in that decision, but it was my decision."

thompkins, who was born on long island in new york, comes from an athletic family. his parents both played college basketball and his father was drafted (but eventually cut) by the atlanta hawks in the early 1980s. he said "trey" grew up following his father from "gym-to-gym" for pickup games, then registered in basketball, baseball and football at the doraville rec center.

carol stephens, director of doraville rec, attended wednesday's ceremony.

meanwhile, thompkins' mother, marsha bernard (who's married to his father but goes by her maiden name) is particularly happy her son will be going to college so close to home. that one year at oak hill was enough for her.

"it was rough on us," she said. "we drove up there every weekend we could. but expenses got crazy. you're paying for a hotel, you're paying for gas, you're eating out. it was crazy, but we did it. but it put a pinch on our pockets."

now that he's signed with georgia, "i can leave after work and get to the games. he loves for us to be at his games. it's going to be wonderful," bernard said.

for his part, thompkins was clearly relieved to have recruiting behind him and ready to get on with the rest of his life.

"i've got to thank god. without god i wouldn't be here," he said. "of course everybody sees all the hype and everything, but it takes hard work to get here. i'm proud of myself for getting here, i'm proud of parents for helping me to get here, i'm proud of this school for helping me to get here. it's just a great feeling."

up in athens, too.

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basketball signees offer dogs hope

by chip towers | wednesday, november 14, 2007, 02:53 pm

the atlanta journal-constitution

i m here in the beverly chapman library of the wesleyan school in norcross. i just got through writing a story on howard trey thompkins, who was having a signing ceremony here along with two of his classmates. as you should know by now, thompkins officially signed with the georgia bulldogs to play basketball for dennis felton. the fact that i m here covering it should be enough to tell you that this is a big deal.

for what it s worth, you should know that we don t generally cover signing ceremonies. it s more of a friends and family thing and, after all, hundreds of kids sign scholarships and we can t be at all of them so we usually choose to not go to any of them so as to not offend anyone.

i came here today because thompkins signing with georgia is a big deal. it s a big deal in and of itself he s rated the no. 7 power forward in the nation but it s bigger because of what all has been going on with georgia basketball the last several years. the ruin that the jim harrick scandal left the program in is well documented. but then there has been more recent and seemingly yearly setbacks that felton has endured as he s tried to rebuild the program on a foundation of hard-nosed discipline and personal responsibility. that has proven his most difficult challenge.

the latest setback was starting guard billy humphrey s shocking arrest tuesday for possessing a weapon on campus. we re still trying to get to the bottom of why police had a warrant to search the east campus village dorm room humphrey shares with mike mercer (word is they were looking for cannabis). but all they found was a souvenir knife humphrey collected on his trip to south america this past summer as part of a college all-star team. but because it was deemed a weapon with a blade of more than two inches, humphrey is facing a felony charge. i don t see how that could stick, but &

humphrey s troubles come on the heels of what at one time was 30-games worth of suspensions to three players for failing to meet the guidelines of damon evans new academic responsibility policy. takais brown has since been dismissed from the team and mercer (15) and albert jackson (6) are now suspended a total of 21 games. this in a year the dogs appeared ready to make a move in the sec.

but all that came before wednesday. today felton got the signed letters-of-intent of thompkins, dustin ware and drazen zlovaric. they ll join five other top-notch signees who will have an impact on the bulldogs as freshmen this season.

felton is in year 5 of his toilsome tenure at georgia. do you think he s ever going to be able to round the corner with this program and take it where he s been saying he is for the past several years? do you see the last two recruiting classes as signs the bulldogs are almost there or are you more inclined to focus on the negative news that seems to crop up more often than not?

for what it s worth, i ve interviewed all three of georgia s basketball signees for this year s class and they re all very impressive young men. thompkins in particular has a big loving family and clearly has benfitted from a private-school education here and at oak hill academy. the dogs got a good one in him and all three say it s their intention to change the way people view georgia basketball. y all buying it?

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basketball signees offer dogs hope

by chip towers | wednesday, november 14, 2007, 02:53 pm

the atlanta journal-constitution

i m here in the beverly chapman library of the wesleyan school in norcross. i just got through writing a story on howard trey thompkins, who was having a signing ceremony here along with two of his classmates. as you should know by now, thompkins officially signed with the georgia bulldogs to play basketball for dennis felton. the fact that i m here covering it should be enough to tell you that this is a big deal.

for what it s worth, you should know that we don t generally cover signing ceremonies. it s more of a friends and family thing and, after all, hundreds of kids sign scholarships and we can t be at all of them so we usually choose to not go to any of them so as to not offend anyone.

i came here today because thompkins signing with georgia is a big deal. it s a big deal in and of itself he s rated the no. 7 power forward in the nation but it s bigger because of what all has been going on with georgia basketball the last several years. the ruin that the jim harrick scandal left the program in is well documented. but then there has been more recent and seemingly yearly setbacks that felton has endured as he s tried to rebuild the program on a foundation of hard-nosed discipline and personal responsibility. that has proven his most difficult challenge.

the latest setback was starting guard billy humphrey s shocking arrest tuesday for possessing a weapon on campus. we re still trying to get to the bottom of why police had a warrant to search the east campus village dorm room humphrey shares with mike mercer (word is they were looking for cannabis). but all they found was a souvenir knife humphrey collected on his trip to south america this past summer as part of a college all-star team. but because it was deemed a weapon with a blade of more than two inches, humphrey is facing a felony charge. i don t see how that could stick, but &

humphrey s troubles come on the heels of what at one time was 30-games worth of suspensions to three players for failing to meet the guidelines of damon evans new academic responsibility policy. takais brown has since been dismissed from the team and mercer (15) and albert jackson (6) are now suspended a total of 21 games. this in a year the dogs appeared ready to make a move in the sec.

but all that came before wednesday. today felton got the signed letters-of-intent of thompkins, dustin ware and drazen zlovaric. they ll join five other top-notch signees who will have an impact on the bulldogs as freshmen this season.

felton is in year 5 of his toilsome tenure at georgia. do you think he s ever going to be able to round the corner with this program and take it where he s been saying he is for the past several years? do you see the last two recruiting classes as signs the bulldogs are almost there or are you more inclined to focus on the negative news that seems to crop up more often than not?

for what it s worth, i ve interviewed all three of georgia s basketball signees for this year s class and they re all very impressive young men. thompkins in particular has a big loving family and clearly has benfitted from a private-school education here and at oak hill academy. the dogs got a good one in him and all three say it s their intention to change the way people view georgia basketball. y all buying it?

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drazen zlovaric

in athens, basketball signings are not quite as big as football, but the dawg fans have a lot to be excited about this wednesday. they are expected to sign 3 of the rivals150 and one is european wing drazen zlovaric. this versatile player can't wait to make everything official.

"yes sir, i am signing wednesday november 14," said zlovaric. "i will be signing early in the morning and i am signing with georgia."

georgia battled some top basketball programs to get this 6-foot-8 wing man and he is happy with his decision.

"it was down to texas and georgia when i made my decision," he said. "georgia was always high on my list from the very beginning. they were always one, two or three for me and most of the time they were number one."

"texas was in there from the start too and the others moved around a lot. southern ca, arkansas, florida and maryland were other schools that were high at one time, but it was just going to be georgia or texas for me."

"when i got ready to commit, i just felt the most comfortable at georgia and that is why i chose them. i love the coaches there and they are just straight shooters they tell you how it is and not just to make things sound perfect."

"everything about georgia was a great fit for me and i love the entire program. the team is getting better, they had a great class in 2007 and i am part of another good one in 2008. i am excited about georgia and it is a perfect fit for me."

the 2008 has three members at this time and zlovaric knows the other two very and is happy to be heading to athens with them.

"i know dustin ware real well and i know howard thompkins good too. i played against "trey" (thompkins) in aau a lot and we talk and everything. he is a very good player."

"dustin and i used to go watch each other play when i lived in tennessee. it was not that far to see him in georgia, so we used to hang out with each other. i knew he was committed to georgia when we met in a tournament and that is where we met. he is cool and all three of us talk a lot. we are all excited."

we know thompkins is a big post player down low and ware is a speedy guard that can score and pass, so what are the dawgs getting in the european?

"i am the opposite of most european players," he said. "most are slow, but i am very quick and very athletic. i think coming over to the states has helped me improve my game, but i am not a normal european player."

"i am very versatile player that can handle the ball and play on the outside or inside. i can shoot well and if i have a smaller guy on me, then i like post up down low. i think i am best at small forward so i can play all over and get out on the break. i play hard and i play very fast."

the uga commitment that plays fast says the big day can not get here fast enough.

"i am ready for it," said zlovaric about november 14. "i am excited to sign with georgia and i am excited about playing for coach felton. i know georgia is the perfect place for me and i can't wait to play with the guys up there."

as a junior zlovaric averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds and he is getting ready for his senior year at sagemont in weston (fla.). he already has a good test score and is qualified academically.

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drazen zlovaric

in athens, basketball signings are not quite as big as football, but the dawg fans have a lot to be excited about this wednesday. they are expected to sign 3 of the rivals150 and one is european wing drazen zlovaric. this versatile player can't wait to make everything official.

"yes sir, i am signing wednesday november 14," said zlovaric. "i will be signing early in the morning and i am signing with georgia."

georgia battled some top basketball programs to get this 6-foot-8 wing man and he is happy with his decision.

"it was down to texas and georgia when i made my decision," he said. "georgia was always high on my list from the very beginning. they were always one, two or three for me and most of the time they were number one."

"texas was in there from the start too and the others moved around a lot. southern ca, arkansas, florida and maryland were other schools that were high at one time, but it was just going to be georgia or texas for me."

"when i got ready to commit, i just felt the most comfortable at georgia and that is why i chose them. i love the coaches there and they are just straight shooters they tell you how it is and not just to make things sound perfect."

"everything about georgia was a great fit for me and i love the entire program. the team is getting better, they had a great class in 2007 and i am part of another good one in 2008. i am excited about georgia and it is a perfect fit for me."

the 2008 has three members at this time and zlovaric knows the other two very and is happy to be heading to athens with them.

"i know dustin ware real well and i know howard thompkins good too. i played against "trey" (thompkins) in aau a lot and we talk and everything. he is a very good player."

"dustin and i used to go watch each other play when i lived in tennessee. it was not that far to see him in georgia, so we used to hang out with each other. i knew he was committed to georgia when we met in a tournament and that is where we met. he is cool and all three of us talk a lot. we are all excited."

we know thompkins is a big post player down low and ware is a speedy guard that can score and pass, so what are the dawgs getting in the european?

"i am the opposite of most european players," he said. "most are slow, but i am very quick and very athletic. i think coming over to the states has helped me improve my game, but i am not a normal european player."

"i am very versatile player that can handle the ball and play on the outside or inside. i can shoot well and if i have a smaller guy on me, then i like post up down low. i think i am best at small forward so i can play all over and get out on the break. i play hard and i play very fast."

the uga commitment that plays fast says the big day can not get here fast enough.

"i am ready for it," said zlovaric about november 14. "i am excited to sign with georgia and i am excited about playing for coach felton. i know georgia is the perfect place for me and i can't wait to play with the guys up there."

as a junior zlovaric averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds and he is getting ready for his senior year at sagemont in weston (fla.). he already has a good test score and is qualified academically.

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the early signing period begins this week and this is something georgia commitment dustin ware has been looking forward to for about a year. ware chose uga last november 2006 and he is ready to make it official in 2007.

"i am getting ready for wednesday and i can not wait," said ware. "i will be signing with georgia on wednesday and i have been looking forward to this day since the day i committed to them."

"i am planning to have a couple of my coaches there, a few trainers and my family. it is going to be a big day for all us and i am very excited about it."

ware knew the moment he committed to dennis felton and the georgia bulldogs that athens was where he wanted to be.

"i have been one hundred and ten percent committed to them since i chose them," he said with excitement.

"other schools kept calling my coaches and asking if i would consider them, but they told them i was solid to georgia. i have not thought about any other schools."

a big part of the reason the 6-foot-0 cat quick point guard chose the dawgs was because the georgia coaching staff. over the last year he has grown closer to them and is looking forward to playing for them.

"i talk to some coach from georgia at least once or twice a week. it may be coach felton or one of the assistants, but i talk to someone."

"we always stay in touch and we know each other real well. i like the coaches there and i am excited about getting over there. i can't wait to get to georgia and play for coach felton."

one big thing has to happen before ware can officially claim to be a bulldog and that takes place on wednesday.

"i just can't wait we are going to take pictures, enjoy ourselves and have fun when i sign," ware said. "that is all i think about right now. i am thinking about nothing but excitement. i know georgia is for me, it is a perfect fit and i am ready."

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the early signing period begins this week and this is something georgia commitment dustin ware has been looking forward to for about a year. ware chose uga last november 2006 and he is ready to make it official in 2007.

"i am getting ready for wednesday and i can not wait," said ware. "i will be signing with georgia on wednesday and i have been looking forward to this day since the day i committed to them."

"i am planning to have a couple of my coaches there, a few trainers and my family. it is going to be a big day for all us and i am very excited about it."

ware knew the moment he committed to dennis felton and the georgia bulldogs that athens was where he wanted to be.

"i have been one hundred and ten percent committed to them since i chose them," he said with excitement.

"other schools kept calling my coaches and asking if i would consider them, but they told them i was solid to georgia. i have not thought about any other schools."

a big part of the reason the 6-foot-0 cat quick point guard chose the dawgs was because the georgia coaching staff. over the last year he has grown closer to them and is looking forward to playing for them.

"i talk to some coach from georgia at least once or twice a week. it may be coach felton or one of the assistants, but i talk to someone."

"we always stay in touch and we know each other real well. i like the coaches there and i am excited about getting over there. i can't wait to get to georgia and play for coach felton."

one big thing has to happen before ware can officially claim to be a bulldog and that takes place on wednesday.

"i just can't wait we are going to take pictures, enjoy ourselves and have fun when i sign," ware said. "that is all i think about right now. i am thinking about nothing but excitement. i know georgia is for me, it is a perfect fit and i am ready."

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30. georgia bulldogs howard thompkins: no. 30, no. 10 pf dustin ware: no. 141 overall, no. 34 pg drazen zlovaric: no. 40 pf uga_statslogo.gif

class details the bulldogs have made it a point to lock up the borders and keep the top in-state players at home. that philosophy paid off with top-30 prospect howard thompkins, who picked the bulldogs over florida and north carolina. in-state sleeper dustin ware is a gamer and will surprise people. so will big man drazen zlovaric, a 6-foot-10 forward with good athleticism.

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30. georgia bulldogs howard thompkins: no. 30, no. 10 pf dustin ware: no. 141 overall, no. 34 pg drazen zlovaric: no. 40 pf uga_statslogo.gif

class details the bulldogs have made it a point to lock up the borders and keep the top in-state players at home. that philosophy paid off with top-30 prospect howard thompkins, who picked the bulldogs over florida and north carolina. in-state sleeper dustin ware is a gamer and will surprise people. so will big man drazen zlovaric, a 6-foot-10 forward with good athleticism.

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sac, i know about thompkins and zlo, but just how good is dustin ware? obviously, he's decent sized and has good athleticism, but can he handle, pass, and shoot? do you keep up with basketball?

i have seen him play. very talented guy. tough as nails. very quick. good ball hander and passer and very good shooter. i have see him make 3's from big time long range without thinking twice and a few game winners as well. one thing i like he doesn't shy away from the big shot.

here is a simple writeup on him:

dustin ware, north cobb christian – okay, he's been sleeping long enough nationally. it's time for his name to be known amongst the top point guards in the southeast in the class of 2008. ware certainly showed that he is a guy that can play at the high-major level and he didn't even play at the level he is capable of. ware is a gritty and cerebral guard that shines in structure. he also showed that he can play with bigger and athletic guards. ware has a great looking pull up jumper and is confident from deep. he has a killer instinct that most guards in the state seem to lack in the clutch. there is a reason why georgia, ohio state and purdue are all looking hard at him.

as above said, he's a big time sleeper, but it could be since he's from kennesaw. we got a good one. i love his toughness.

yeah i follow college basketball recruiting a lot. i don't post as much of it on here because not many guys care, but since it's early signing day i thought i would post it.

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sac, i know about thompkins and zlo, but just how good is dustin ware? obviously, he's decent sized and has good athleticism, but can he handle, pass, and shoot? do you keep up with basketball?

i have seen him play. very talented guy. tough as nails. very quick. good ball hander and passer and very good shooter. i have see him make 3's from big time long range without thinking twice and a few game winners as well. one thing i like he doesn't shy away from the big shot.

here is a simple writeup on him:

dustin ware, north cobb christian – okay, he's been sleeping long enough nationally. it's time for his name to be known amongst the top point guards in the southeast in the class of 2008. ware certainly showed that he is a guy that can play at the high-major level and he didn't even play at the level he is capable of. ware is a gritty and cerebral guard that shines in structure. he also showed that he can play with bigger and athletic guards. ware has a great looking pull up jumper and is confident from deep. he has a killer instinct that most guards in the state seem to lack in the clutch. there is a reason why georgia, ohio state and purdue are all looking hard at him.

as above said, he's a big time sleeper, but it could be since he's from kennesaw. we got a good one. i love his toughness.

yeah i follow college basketball recruiting a lot. i don't post as much of it on here because not many guys care, but since it's early signing day i thought i would post it.

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i've always believed in dennis felton. he's trying to turn around a very troubled basketball program. the one thing he has to offer is the chance to start right away if you are the best and you stay out of trouble. i don't believe he has any senior allegiances. who ever is best plays. that's very attractive to any recruit.

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i've always believed in dennis felton. he's trying to turn around a very troubled basketball program. the one thing he has to offer is the chance to start right away if you are the best and you stay out of trouble. i don't believe he has any senior allegiances. who ever is best plays. that's very attractive to any recruit.

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