Men’s Basketball & Baseball — Northwestern State signs versatile forward, two-sport star


Versatility describes Northwestern State’s recruiting haul Wednesday, the final day of the early signing period.

The Demons inked 6-foot-9 forward Tanner Hamilton (Texarkana, Ark.) and two-sport standout Tyree Thompson (New Orleans).

Hamilton averaged 29 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks per game during his junior season at Hooks High School in Hooks, Texas.

“Every time we’ve seen Tanner, he gets better,” McConathy said about the 205-pound Hamilton, who garnered All-State, All-Region and District MVP honors. “He has unlimited potential within our program. He is a gym rat that has made himself a great shooter.

“His ability to shoot behind the arc and attack the rim off the dribble will allow him to play four positions for us offensively. He is long and athletic, which really fits into our fast-paced style of Demon basketball.

Thompson starred on the basketball court and baseball diamond at Edna Karr High School.

In baseball, Thompson compiled an 8-4 record as a pitcher with a 1.75 ERA as a junior. Thompson struck out 101 batters in 84 innings. He’s used 319 career strikeouts to aid his five career no hitters and one perfect game. Thompson won the first 11 starts of his sophomore season with the help of a fastball that’s touched 93 miles per hour.

At the plate, Thompson batted .600 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs to garner all-district player of the year honors and an all-metro selection as a junior.

“Tyree has a skill set that you just can’t teach,” said NSU baseball coach Lane Burroughs. “His arm really turns and is extremely quick.

“He really knows how to spin the baseball, and he already has a feel for plus secondary pitches. We haven’t even touched on his extreme athleticism for a big man, and I want to congratulate the basketball coaching staff for finding a real gem and helping us with a true diamond in the rough.”

Hamilton will finish his career at Trinity Christian in Texarkana, Ark., after leading Hooks High to a 30-2 record.

“Defensively, he has the ability to block shots and impact shots as well with his length and athleticism. He can defend multiple positions, which fits into our philosophy defensively. Tanner is a young senior (just turned 17), so he has a frame that can be added to that will only enhance his abilities.”

McConathy had no shortage of praise for Thompson, either. NSU freshman Colby Koontz will also pitch for the baseball team, and McConathy doesn’t shy away from athletes who wish to pursue multiple sports.

Thompson averaged 10 points and six assists for a Karr squad that went 24-9. Thompson enters his third season as a varsity basketball starter this season.

“We have addressed an obvious need by signing point guard Tyree Thompson, and we are confident that his dynamic play-making ability, athleticism and versatility will fit extremely well with our style,” said NSU basketball coach Mike McConathy. “He understands pace and space and can facilitate an offense to help his teammates get easy shots or create for himself.

“Tyree has played with and against several Division I players in high school and AAU, and we are certain he will make the transition to college basketball with success as a freshman.”