Georgia sophomore forward Trey Thompkins has a chance to make short-term and long-term history, but he's only certain about his distant objective.
Thompkins, who could become the first Bulldogs player since Jumaine Jones in 1999 to enter the NBA draft after just two seasons, desires to stay in basketball a long, long time. After his days on the court are over, he wants to raise the average height of ESPN's television talent by becoming the first 6-foot-10 "SportsCenter" anchor.
"Hopefully I can change that," Thompkins said this week with a laugh. "I would love to host 'SportsCenter' as well as analyze games."
It would be hard denying his knowledge of the sport, because Thompkins is doing everything well for the improved Bulldogs (13-15, 5-10 SEC) this season. With an average of 17.6 points and 8.0 rebounds a game, he is the only Southeastern Conference player in the top five of both categories.
Thompkins is shooting 49.7 percent from the floor and 40.7 percent from 3-point range and has amassed 29 blocks and 27 steals.
"If that team was winning consistently, Trey Thompkins would be mentioned as one of the best power forwards in the country," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "He's a very versatile player, and he's a very difficult matchup. He steps outside and makes the 3. He's a difficult post-up guy, and he handles and passes it."
Said Florida's Billy Donovan: "In the league or in the country, I would be hard-pressed to find too many guys more skilled, talented and gifted than he is."
Thompkins averaged 27.5 points and 14.7 rebounds in leading the Wesleyan School in Norcross to Georgia's AA state title in 2008. He was a fourth-team Parade All-American and was rated by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 11 power forward, and it didn't take long for him to excel in Athens.
On a team that went just 3-13 in the SEC, lost 20 games overall and endured the midseason firing of coach Dennis Felton, Thompkins averaged 12.6 points as a freshman and led the Bulldogs with 7.4 rebounds a game. He was asked to compete on the United States team at the Under-19 World Championships in New Zealand last summer and was its second-leading scorer.
"That allowed him to stay in great shape all summer, so he came back in really good condition and a better player because of the experience," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "I think he's very good and has improved a great deal throughout this season. I think he's starting to play like an upperclassmen."
Thompkins doesn't have a favorite part to his game, citing an appreciation for "having the luxury to do these things." He believes there is a long list of improvements still to make, most notably taking care of the ball and becoming a better leader through listening.
There are too many immediate matters for him to decide right now whether or not to turn pro, with the most obvious being next week's SEC tournament.
"We feel like we can go in and win it, because we're going to compete against anybody we play against," Thompkins said. "Everybody can't look at Georgia anymore as a small team on their schedule. We're looking forward to going to Nashville and being productive, because we know we can."