Despite not hearing his name be called during the 2012 draft, former Georgetown Hoyas swingman Hollis Thompson did not have to wait long until an NBA team came knocking at his door.
On July 11, just thirteen days after he was one of three Georgetown players that went undrafted, Thompson signed a three-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, making him the first rookie Hoya to officially join an NBA franchise. Thompson’s former teammates Jason Clark and Henry Sims, however, have each taken steps towards making an NBA roster themselves by playing for the summer league teams of the Miami Heat and Utah Jazz, respectively.
Out of Loyola High School in Los Angeles, CA, Thompson was recruited by Duke, Arizona, UCLA, and USC, but chose to travel over 2,600 miles and the furthest away from home out of these schools to attend Georgetown University, where he played for three years and undoubtedly continued to improve.
Following a less impressive freshman season during which he average only 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, the 6-foot-8 player started 22 of 32 games during his sophomore year. Thompson nearly doubled his totals from the previous season to 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 51.9% from the field and 45.7% from three-point range.
Although Thompson initially committed to forgo his last two years at Georgetown by entering into the 2011 draft, he did not hire an agent and therefore was able to instead return for his junior season—a decision that proved to be a good one for Thompson as he finished his third year in a Hoya uniform with a career high 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
Given the nickname “Hollywood” by his teammates, he also came up big when placed in the spotlight, scoring 20 second-half points in a win against St. John’s, hitting a buzzer-beater on the road to lift Georgetown over Alabama, and knocking down a game-winning three-pointer against Marquette.
In what would ultimately be his final season at Georgetown, Thompson shot 46.4% from the field and 43.0% from beyond the three-point line, finishing his time with the Hoyas as the career leader in three-point percentage at 44%.
With the signing of Thompson, Oklahoma City adds a player to its roster that is not only an efficient shooter from both inside and outside but also one that showed dedication and resiliency at the college level.
Thompson battled through the second half of last season with a misdiagnosed sports hernia to help his team secure a No. 3 seed in the Midwest region of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. In a second round matchup against the N.C. State, he led Georgetown with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Hoyas fell to the Wolfpack 66-63.
The injury, however, persisted up until draft time, causing Thompson to cancel many pre-draft workouts. His agent, Seth Cohen, believes this is the reason why the young player went undrafted as his draft value certainly dropped.
In terms of the deal, Thompson is set to receive around $473,000 in the first year of his contract and could potentially earn up to $2.2 million if he remains with OKC for the full three years.
For the Thunder, who completed its 15-man roster by also signing 2009 No. 2 overall pick of the Memphis Grizzlies Hasheem Thabeet and its 2012 first-round pick Perry Jones III of Baylor, the move to acquire Thompson was one of many based upon limiting spending as the franchise already has All-star point guard Russell Westbrook and the league’s three-time reigning scoring champ Kevin Durant locked into pricy long-term deals. On top of that, both last year’s Sixth Man of the Year James Harden and league leader in blocks Serge Ibaka will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the upcoming season and are expected to receive big contracts of their own.
Although Thompson will only receive the rookie minimum this year, for the 21-year old there must be only one way to describe the opportunity to play for one of the youngest and arguably hottest teams in the league right now: Priceless.