Karr runs away from East Jefferson _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Karr pitcher Tyree Thompson

Tyree Thompson started playing baseball and basketball when he was 6 years old.

Twelve years later, he still hasn’t quite figured out which he likes more.

It’s one of the main reasons the Edna Karr two-sport star will continue to do both in college.

The 6-foot-4 Thompson, a guard on the basketball team and pitcher /shortstop in baseball, signed with Northwestern State on Wednesday.

“It was really important to me because they are allowing me to show my talents in both basketball and baseball,” Thompson said. “I started playing both of them at the same age, so it’s hard for me to try to knock one of them off.”

With baseball only offering partial scholarships, Thompson’s signing in basketball gives him an opportunity to attend college for free.

“They are getting a good ball player, but more importantly they are getting a very good person,” Karr basketball player Taurus Howard said. “He is a hard worker and pays attention to details and does whatever you ask him to do. He is a leader on the floor, and I think that’s what attracted Northwestern State to him.”

Thompson averaged 10 points and six assists as a junior for the Cougars, who finished 24-9.

His baseball résumé is even more impressive.

He has already won 31 games on the mound, with 319 strikeouts. He has thrown five no-hitters, one perfect game and is a two-time all-state selection as well as two-time district Most Valuable Player.

He also batted. 600 with seven home runs as a junior. Not bad for a guy who Karr baseball coach Donnie Russell used a designated hitter for at the beginning of his sophomore season.

“The thing about Tyree is whatever you tell him he can’t do, he’s going to prove to you he can do it,” said Russell. “The first time I DH’d for him, he threw a no-hitter because he was mad he wasn’t batting. He went from batting at the bottom of the lineup as a sophomore to hitting in the three-hole. He is going to prove them wrong. Tyree has never failed. Whatever he puts his mind to something, he is going to do it.”

Thompson said he is glad to have the recruiting process out of the way.

“It was hard, but I prayed on it,” he said. “I am confident about my decision I made.”

He will likely have another decision to make in June when the Major League Baseball draft rolls around.

“If I have the chance to go, I would go,” Thompson said.

He hasn’t thought about what round it would take to lure him to play professionally instead of playing in college.

The coaching staff at Northwestern State is hoping for his arrival.

“Tyree has a skill set that you just can’t teach,” Northwestern baseball coach Lane Burroughs said. “I want to thanks the basketball coaching staff for finding a real gem and helping us with a true diamond in the rough.”