In degrees of richness, Communications Tech's basketball program yesterday advanced from regular to filthy.

Arriving by transfer from Monsignor Bonner was Lijah Thompson, a 6-7 forward/center, and Robert Morris signee, who was considered the Catholic League's No. 2 senior behind Roman Catholic guard Maalik Wayns (Villanova).

It didn't take Thompson long to travel to CT, located in deep Southwest Philly. He lives within footsteps.

"I almost went there out of eighth grade. Everybody wanted me to," he said. "I know all their players and coaches, and I've followed them through the years."

Thompson said he was experiencing ongoing problems at Bonner over a personal issue.

"It was hard for me to deal with, and I didn't want to put my mom through it anymore, either," he said. "It was just time to go. Switching to a school real close to home just made the most sense. I talked with the Robert Morris coaches, and they were in favor of this, too."

Thompson will be immediately eligible. CT, the defending champ, opens Pub play tomorrow at fellow toughie Prep Charter.

"I appreciate that Bonner signed my [eligibility] paperwork, and that I'll be allowed to play," he said. "I have a lot of friends at that school and it's hard from that point; leaving them behind. I'm still going to go to a lot of their games and cheer them on." *