Last winter, the Bullis School’s boys basketball team won its first Interstate Athletic Conference championship since 2008. And Bulldogs point guard Anthony Thompson was a big reason for the Potomac program’s success.
Thompson’s blazing quickness up and down the court often made opponents look slow.
“I’m a smaller guard,” said the 5-foot-10 Thompson, “so, I have to use my quickness to get around them. That’s what I do.”
Thompson, in fact, has been an optical illusion to opponents since earning the starting point guard spot for coach Bruce Kelley as a sophomore. The College of the Holy Cross (Mass.) recruit hopes to dazzle onlookers one more time as a senior this winter. His role should expand even further this winter with the graduation losses of Nigel Pruitt and Joe Hazel.
“He’s really made himself into the premier point guard in the D.C. area,” Kelley said. “I know I’m biased, but he’s right there. He’s added something to his game the entire time he has been here. I just love coaching him. He makes winning plays.
“We’re asking him to rebound this year and, without giving anything away, we have different [offensive] sets for him. He has developed into a good shooter and he’s extremely quick. He’s the real deal.”
As perhaps the team’s third offensive option a year ago, Thompson averaged 12 points per game to go along with 4.4 assists per contest for the Bulldogs, who swept the IAC’s regular season and tournament titles en route to a 24-3 record.
“Anthony has found a way to combine his speed and his change of direction abilities to be a hard guard to pressure,” Landon coach Andy Luther said. “He sees the floor well and has a natural ability to create for others in broken floor situations, which helps a lot.
“He is one of those rare guards who uses his smaller size to an advantage. He made a good team become a great one last year by all of the things he was able to do on the offensive end.”
He scored 16 points in the team’s 66-62 win against Georgetown Prep in last year’s IAC tournament final. Such performances caused Little Hoyas coach Herb Krusen to name Thompson the league’s unofficial Most Valuable Player in 2011-12.
“Had we had an MVP last season in the IAC, I would have voted for Anthony,” Krusen said. “We lost three games to Bullis last year — all in the last 30 seconds — and he was the guy who always stepped up. Anthony is one of the best and most underrated players in the area.”
With his expanded role on what should be another IAC contending team, Thompson likely will shed the “underrated” moniker this winter and he cannot wait for the added responsibility.
“I’ve got to score a lot more and get people involved,” he said. “It’s a huge role this year. It’s a challenge and I have to step up to the challenge.”
Longtime friend and new Bullis teammate Jamal Greenwood, who transferred from Georgetown Prep, would expect nothing else.
“He has a lot of heart and he really battles,” said Greenwood, who began playing with Thompson in elementary school on an Amateur Athletic Union team. “He’s a really good leader [and] he knows every play with every position.”