Two people close to Georgetown's Hollis Thompson expect the sophomore will return to school after declaring for the NBA draft last week.
Thompson didn't hire an agent after the surprise move, allowing him to retain his college eligibility if he pulls out of the draft by May 8.
"I don't think he'll stay in the draft," said Miles Cartwright, a Penn basketball player and good friend of Thompson's. They were teammates for 2 1/2 years at Loyola (Calif.) High School.
"People around him know he can play at the next level," said Cartwright, who was caught off guard by Thompson's decision. "But the majority of [other] people don't think he can. He's going to take all the comments and negativity from the disbelievers and take it straight to the court and work as hard as he can."
Thompson, a small forward, averaged 8.6 points over 23.3 minutes per game last season. Those aren't numbers usually associated with an early entry to the draft.
"He's easily bored. He wants to challenge himself," said Jamal Adams, the Loyola High School basketball coach. "My gut tells me it's Hollis striking out on his own. My gut [feeling] is he's a really bright kid doing his own thing."
Adams emphasized the move has nothing to do with academics - he calls Thompson "brilliant" - financial need or dissatisfaction with Georgetown. And Cartwright relayed Thompson's excitement over an increased role next season, when he'll be counted on to help replace the scoring of the graduated Austin Freeman, Julian Vaughn and Chris Wright.
Adams believes Thompson will use this time to figure out what needs to improve for the next time he declares for the draft. Currently, none of the major mock drafts lists Thompson as a potential pick.
Thompson told Cartwright, "I just want to test the waters and see what kind of feedback I get." The two grew up talking of playing in the NBA with jokes about whose team would win more games.
Workouts with NBA teams are where Adams believes Thompson could win front-office fans.
"You look at guys sitting on the bench [in the NBA] or in the D-League and he can play there," Adams said. "He's an absolutely phenomenal talent, one of the best shooters I've ever seen in my life."
Cartwright compares the situation to when Thompson arrived at Loyola High School.
"He wasn't the No. 1 guy," Cartwright said. "But he worked and worked hard to get to the top. ... He was shutting out everyone who didn't believe in him. He worked hard at everything he did."
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