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January 19, 2013

Thompson pledges to Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt wanted to find a guard for the 2013 class and was willing to wait until the regular signing period to do it.

On Saturday, the staff found its guard when Murfreesboro Blackman High standout Darius Thompson made his commitment to the Commodores via Twitter.

"I finally made up my decision on where I will be going to college. Today I decided I'm going to Anchor Down," tweeted Thompson.

His commitment completes a recruitment that spanned several months since the summer when Thompson exploded onto the scene with Team Nashville AAU. Playing alongside Rivals150 guard and fellow Vanderbilt target, Corn Elder, Thompson showed he could be both a D1 level point guard and two-guard.

The Commodores offered later in December after other programs like Auburn, Butler, East Tennessee State, Furman, Murray State, Richmond and Western Kentucky. Soon after the Commodores offered, Purdue and NC State followed.

Thompson visited Vanderbilt on multiple occasions since the offer, getting a look at the program a few weeks ago and then seeing the Commodores in person against Kentucky on January 10th. He was also in the audience during Vanderbilt's game against MTSU at the Bridgestone Arena on December 21st.

Lately, Tennessee made a push and Thompson was slated to visit the Vols, but canceled his trip when he decided Vanderbilt was the place for him. Texas A&M was also emerging on the radar prior to Saturday's decision.

"When I went down there to visit and talked to the academic people, I really liked the school," Thompson told the Daily New Journal's Tom Kreager on Saturday. "Then, when I met with coach (Kevin) Stallings - he's a great coach - he's going to push me to the best I can be and get the best out of me.

"Then their players were really cool players. I liked the situation there."

A 6-foot-4, 180-pound combo guard, Vanderbilt sees Thompson as a point guard with the ability to also play off-guard. He currently averages 14.2 points, 6.6 assists and 2 assists per game for the Blaze.

A versatile scorer and passer with good shooting ability and ideal court vision, Thompson was the Daily News Journal Player of the Year in the spring of 2012 after leading Blackman to a 26-4 record and its first ever TSSAA state tournament appearance.

He averaged 12.8 points, 6 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks a game as a junior.

This season, Thompson has led Blaze to a current 18-0 record and No. 2 in the statewide rankings.

His improvement from last season to this season could be in his outside shooting as he's gone from converting just 30-percent from behind the arc in 2012 and nearly 40-percent this season.

The signing period begins on April 17th. He joins early signee, 4-star power forward Damian Jones as members of Vanderbilt's 2013 recruiting class.

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