ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — Alexandria native Treyton Thompson had more than a year left to make a college decision if he chose to wait that long.
The 6-foot, 11-inch power forward who is now a junior playing at nationally-ranked La Lumiere Prep School in La Porte, Ind., could have held out to see if his recruitment would gain even more traction. He already had offers from Texas Tech, Minnesota, Iowa and Oklahoma after his sophomore season in Alexandria, but after an official visit to the Gophers recently, he decided there was no reason to wait.
Thompson gave a verbal commitment to Minnesota and head coach Richard Pitino on Nov. 30, becoming the first commitment for the Gophers’ 2021 recruiting class.
“They have everything that I really want,” Thompson said, noting the university's improved facilities. "Richard Pitino is a really good coach who has been around coaching his whole life with his dad being one of the better coaches. Overall, I just had a really good connection with them. I felt if I wanted to get to the next level after college, it would be a good spot to go to.”
The high school talent level in Minnesota basketball has gotten to the point where the state produces multiple top-150 nationally-ranked players every year. Pitino has faced some criticism for his inability to keep some of those top players home, most recently after Prior Lake power forward Dawson Garcia announced he was signing with Marquette.
Thompson is a 4-star player through both the Rivals and 247 Sports recruiting sites, with Rivals ranking him as the 90th overall prospect in the country for 2021, and 247 Sports listing him 79th nationally. Thompson hopes he can make an impact in recruiting other top-level Minnesota kids.
Thompson averaged 15.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in Alexandria as a sophomore. That included shooting 38% from three on 72 attempts.