A few short weeks ago, South Carolina fans received a surprise when James Thompson committed to the Gamecocks over LSU and other programs closer to his home in Louisiana. On Tuesday evening, The Times-Picayune reported a second surprising, and far more distressing, piece of news about the fourth and final commitment for Frank Martin's 2014 recruiting class:
James Thompson was arrested Monday and booked in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of aggravated battery and domestic abuse by battery.
The arrest of the now-graduated Parkview Baptist basketball standout and recent South Carolina signee came after the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office was contacted regarding a pair of alleged incidents that stemmed from arguments about the complainant's Instagram account, according to the arrest report.
According to the article, the report alleges that Thompson and his girlfriend engaged in a heated argument on August 10, 2013 related to her new Instagram account, which concluded with Thompson throwing his cell phone at her, striking her above the eye. The complaint goes on to accuse Thompson of a second act on June 4, 2014, where he allegedly punched, slapped, and threw things at the woman due to a comment on one of her Instagram photos.
Thompson admitted to throwing the phone at the woman's face in August of last year, but denied the charges that stemmed from his actions earlier this month.
Obviously, these charges call into question whether Thompson will or should join the South Carolina program. The athletics department released the following statement:
"We are aware of the serious charges regarding James Thompson and are gathering more information." "We will have no further comment at this time."
The Gamecocks expected Thompson to push for playing time in the post this season, joining a thin frontcourt with juniors Mindaugas Kacinas, Laimonas Chatkevicius, Demetrius Henry, and Michael Carrera. If Thompson fails to make it into school, the foul-prone Gamecocks may struggle with depth in the post against opponents that attack the rim.
We at GABA wish the woman a speedy recovery and for justice for all parties involved.