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Friday, April 29, 2011

Men's basketball: New FGCU coach off to quick start on recruiting trail

— Florida Gulf Coast University men's basketball coach Andy Enfield has his second signee, and perhaps an eventual starting backcourt for years to come.
Shooting guard Bernard Thompson (6-foot-3, 180 pounds), of Conyers (Ga.)-Rockdale County High has signed his national letter of intent and will join Winter Park point guard Brett Comer (6-3) as new Eagles for Enfield, who was hired March 31.
Thompson, whom Enfield recruited during four of his five years as an assistant at Florida State, chose FGCU, which will be in its first season of Division I postseason eligibility next season, over East Carolina, Georgia State, Murray State, Northeastern, Wright State and Virginia Commonwealth, a Final Four team last season.
Thompson averaged 17.0 points and 6.5 rebounds during his senior season as Rockdale County finished as Georgia’s Class 4A runner-up for coach Alvin Williams.
“We’re really excited to have Bernard come to our program,” Enfield said. “He’s such a talented player. He plays hard on both ends of the court. He has a very explosive first step and he’s a heck of a defensive player. Bernard did whatever he had to do to help the team win. Some games he was the leading scorer. Some games he was the leading rebounder. Some games he was both.
“Bernard gives us some explosiveness that this program needs.”
Thompson could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon, but Williams, whose roster also included junior Kevin Ware, a Tennessee commitment, gushed about Thompson.
“I tell you what, that kid’s a steal,” Williams said. “Bernard’s an all-around player. I mean he can defend the other team’s best guard and he can do anything offensively the defense gives him. If they give him that long jumper, he takes it and makes it. If they give him that lane where he can pull up, he makes it. And he is explosive going to the basket. Big-time players play big in big-time games. In the playoffs he carried us big-time.
“I have a very talented team here, but out of all of that talent, Bernard is the most mature player — meaning that he’s ready to go play in college right now.”
Wrote ESPN.com’s Mike LaPlante: “ It seems that every year after the holiday tournaments there are a handful of players that emerge with an increased profile and major recruiting buzz. Count Rockdale County (Ga.) High School’s Bernard Thompson, who has gone from a relative unknown to one of the most talked about names on the recruiting circuit, as one of them.
“I got the chance to watch Thompson compete in three different tournaments during the later part of December and I came away impressed with his basketball IQ and upside. He is a long, rangy guard that can shoot it from 3 and is deceptively athletic. He attacked the lane in transition at the Chick-fil-a Classic and finished with a left-handed jam that caught everyone off guard and had the college coaches in attendance buzzing.”
Comer, who signed on Monday, was named an all-state first teamer by the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches after averaging 10.2 points, 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game as a senior last season when he helped lead Winter Park its second straight Class 6A title. He scored in double figures 18 times and had six double-doubles.
ESPN.com rated Comer as the 51st-best point guard in the country and he canceled visits to Colorado State and Massachusetts after committing to FGCU.
“Our coaching staff, we’re excited,” Enfield said. “We think Bernard and Brett complement the players we have very well. We expect them to contribute as freshmen and be big-time college basketball players. With any freshman, it takes some time, but they’re talented enough to be excellent players for us, and they really complement each other well.”

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