Darius Thompson is sure of his decision this time.
The Blackman High senior point guard committed to the University of Tennessee on Saturday night at halftime of a high school all-star basketball game played at Cumberland University.
“I’m positive for sure that is where I’m going,” he said.
The decision to orally commit to the Vols came more than two months after the 6-foot-4 point guard originally committed to Vanderbilt, but decided a month later to re-open his college recruitment.
“They probably won’t like me,” said Thompson of Vanderbilt fans’ likely reaction to his college decision.
Commitments are non-binding for both the athlete and the school. Thompson cannot sign until the regular signing period begins on April 17.
Thompson, a three-year starter at Blackman, averaged 16.4 points, 6.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals this season. He was the first Mr. Basketball finalist in the school’s 13 years.
He was recruited heavily by Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Virginia and North Carolina State after he restarted his recruitment. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, Alabama coach Anthony Grant and Auburn coach Tony Barbee were seen at multiple postseason games.
But Tennessee was first to get in on Thompson’s recruitment when the coaching staff learned he was again looking for a school. The Vols had coaches at Blackman the day after Thompson said he wasn’t going to Vanderbilt.
“I really did open it back up,” Thompson said. “When I went up to (Tennessee) for my unofficial visit, I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”
Thompson said he attended the Vols’ 64-62 win over Missouri on March 9 in an unofficial visit. The game was Tennessee’s Senior Day.
“What really won me on Tennessee was the college atmosphere. They have one of the top 10 attendances. That’s huge. People would come up to me and introduce themselves.”
Thompson will be joined by Dyer County senior Robert Hubbs III. Hubbs, a 6-5 guard, was also a Mr. Basketball finalist. Other signees include 6-0 guard Travon Landry (San Antonio, Texas) and 6-8 forward A.J. Davis (Buford, Ga.).
Hubbs had implored Thompson to go to Tennessee recently on Twitter.
“I feel like him and me could be a great duo there,” Thompson said of Hubbs. “I really like how he played.”
Thompson said he is being recruited solely as a point guard at Tennessee.
The Vols graduate guard Skylar McBee and forward Kenny Hall graduate off this year’s 20-13 team that lost to Mercer in the opening round of the NIT.
“I want to help lead them to the NCAA Tournament,” Thompson said. “They are in a little bit of a drought. “We’ll work hard. I know it hurt them when they found out they were not in it.”