Following a season where he became the most accomplished scorer for the Orange men’s basketball team since Connor Crabtree, Jerec Thompson has received among the highest individual honors from the Central Carolina Conference.

Thompson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Central Carolina Conference. Shortly after receiving the honor this spring, Thompson announced his commitment to Division III Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA.

In the quarterfinals of the Central Carolina Conference Tournament against Western Alamance in Elon, Thompson scored the 1,000th point of his career with a free throw early in the third quarter. He became the first Orange player to cross that plateau since Joey McMullin, who surpassed it in 2020. Thompson amassed 1,033 points in 71 career games, including just 12 in his junior season, which was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The only disappointing thing about Thompson’s final year was that he wasn’t healthy enough to see every game. He missed the opening games against Southern Alamance and East Chapel Hill after being undercut going up for a dunk during a scrimmage against Vance County at Franklinton High School on November 20.

Once Thompson finally took the floor against the North Carolina School of Science and Math on December 2, it was immediate magic. He poured in 41 points in a 73-54 victory. It was the most points scored by an Orange player since Crabtree, who now plays with the University of Richmond, poured in 44 points against Southern Durham during the Big 8 Conference Tournament Championship game on February 17, 2016.

Thompson had eight games over 30 points in his senior season. In the South Granville Holiday Invitational, he scored 33 points in a 73-70 win over Reidsville. The following day, Thompson had 32 points in a loss to Cary in the Navy Bracket semifinals.

He sank a career-high ten 3-pointers, and finished with 39 points, against Person in Roxboro on February 1.

As the season wore on, Thompson saved his best for last. In his final game at Orange High School, he registered 40 points in a 77-68 win over Eastern Alamance on February 11. It was the first time any Orange player scored 40 points inside Panther Gymnasium since Crabtree ran up 40 points against Chapel Hill on January 5, 2017. Ironically, the previous player to score 40 points inside Panther Gym was Chapel Hill’s Jake Chislom, who scored 41 points against Orange on February 15, 2021, in a game played in front of empty bleachers due to restrictions created by the pandemic.

Thompson put in 29 points in the tournament win over Western Alamance on February 14. It was Orange’s first postseason win since beating Triton in the 3rd round of the 3A State Playoffs in 2017. He ended his career with 24 points against Northwood in the CCC semifinals. The Chargers would go on to win the CCC Regular Season and Tournament championships.

Thompson’s freshman season coincided with a point of major transition for the Orange men’s basketball team. Derryl Britt was in his first season as the head coach of the Panthers after Greg Motley had led the program for 20 years. At the beginning of 2018, Thompson was on the junior varsity team, but quickly transitioned to varsity starting in the Eastern Guilford Holiday Hoops Invitational in Gibsonville. In just his second game, he scored 12 points in a 70-61 win over Southeast Guilford on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.

Thompson’s limitless range from downtown would be the trademark of his Orange career. In 2019-2020, Thompson, McMullin, Jason Franklin and Machai Holt triggered a 6-1 start, including 74-56 win over then-defending 3A State Champion Walter Williams and a 82-32 rout of East Chapel Hill. In his sophomore season, Thompson averaged 10.8 points per game as a steady third outside shooting option alongside McMullin and Franklin.

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