LUMBERTON — Retired Lumberton girls basketball head coach Danny Graham was in attendance on Thursday afternoon as “one of the most competitive players” he ever worked with signed her letter of intent to play basketball at North Carolina Central University.
London Thompson, the county’s reigning player of the year for the past two seasons, led the Lady Pirates in scoring in each of her four years with the program.
“She has a willingness to get better and a willingness to try to adapt to anything that is asked of her,” Graham said. “Just a great competitor and a great person.”
Graham said Thompson’s mentality and raw talent stood out to him when he saw her play for the first time four years ago.
“My first impression of London was her great speed and, most importantly, her willingness not to lose,” Graham said.
Thompson averaged over 17 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and seven steals in her senior season, helping the Lady Pirates to a 25-5 record and an appearance in the third round of the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.
Her standout senior campaign helped Thompson earn multiple awards, including Sandhills Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Robeson County Shootout MVP.
After months of deciding how to approach the next stage of her career, Thompson said she had a gut feeling that becoming an Eagle was the right choice to make.
“It’s a big relief after working hard over the years and seeing it pay off,” Thompson said of her signing day.
Thompson’s decision came after she was recently selected to play in the North Carolina East-West All-Star Game in Greensboro on July 16.
“That’s always been my goal since my freshman year, to play in that game,” Thompson said.
Thompson runs track for Lumberton and played volleyball as well.
“We’re definitely going to miss her in the basketball program. She’s a great player and great competitor,” Graham said.
Thompson is joining a team that finished with a record of 9-21 last season. It was revealed in March that nine of the 13 returners on the roster had been cut from the team, leaving multiple roles to be filled.
“I hope to accomplish more like I did in high school,” Thompson said.
“She’s going to a place where her opportunity to play and get better will grow and grow,” Graham said. “I know her mom and her dad will be behind her with her support system. She’s going to work to be the best player she can be at Central. It’s just been a blessing to coach London.”
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.