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Another first for WSU basketball

Posted by Jeff Nusser on April 26, 2008

It’s been nothing but a series of firsts for the WSU basketball program thanks to Dick and Tony Bennett.

Ready for another one?

Rivals.com recently released its final Top 150 list, and guess what? Two future Cougs are on it: Klay Thompson and Michael Harthun. That’s never happened before.

We keep talking about just how great this 2008 recruiting class is, and to be fair, it’s all just speculation at this point — ask any UW fan who has watched Lorenzo Romar rake in top 20 classes year after year, or ask any Coug fan what they think of that 2004 class these days. But it’s fun to talk about, nonetheless.

When the first portion of that class was announced, it was a widely held belief that Michael Harthun was the jewel, WSU’s first top 100 recruit since recruiting services such as Scout.com, Rivals.com and Scouts, Inc. started putting lists together. He’s currently ranked No. 96 by Scout.com, No. 100 by Scouts, Inc. and No. 118 on that Rivals.com list.

Harthun might well still turn out to be the best of this impressive class, but a huge senior season has propelled Thompson (above) right past him in nearly everyone’s eyes — a “late bloomer” in recruiting speak. Thompson now is ranked as high as No. 45 by Scouts, Inc. and No. 51 by Rivals.com. (He’s still unranked by Scout.com, but they have not updated their list since before the early signing period.)

Thompson led his team to the California Div. III title with an almost-mythical performance in the championship game: 37 points, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range and three blocked shots. For the season, he averaged 21 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists. From this report, offensively he sounds like Kyle Weaver with a better outside shot:

Thompson has the skill and savvy to play all three perimeter positions at the next level. He has solid speed and quickness and he’s a very crafty ball handler. He has excellent court vision and could have easily had a couple of triple-doubles if teammates could have converted.

Don’t trust the “experts”? Take a look with your own eyes. This kid is silky smooth:

Now, before you go all crazy drooling on your keyboard, here are Rivals.com’s No. 51 recruits from the last few years:

  • 2007: Justin Burrell, St. John’s
  • 2006: Marreese Speights, Florida
  • 2005: Bobby Frasor, North Carolina
  • 2004: Dayshawn Wright, Syracuse
  • 2003: Dwight Brewington, Providence

Of those five, chances are you only recognize two of them: Speights and Frasor. Speights had a good sophomore season for the Gators and is testing the draft waters, while Frasor was a nice reserve point guard for the Heels before going down with a knee injury. Both are good players.

But consider the other three. The jury is still out on Burrell, who had a decent freshman year for a terrible St. John’s team. Wright and Brewington? Wright flamed out of Syracuse thanks to poor academics, while Brewington played one season at Providence before transferring to Liberty, playing one season there, declaring early for the draft and going undrafted.

The moral of the story? All ostensibly have/had talent, but a lot can happen on the road to greatness. So keep it in perspective.

If you’re curious, the Cougars have had only one other Rivals.com Top 150 recruit: Derrick Low, No. 138 in 2004. That one turned out OK. There was another guy in that glass, some dude named Weaver who didn’t even sniff anyone’s top 150. I think he turned out all right, too.

6 Responses to “Another first for WSU basketball”

  1. Nuss said

    For another interesting take on rankings, check out this post at A Sea of Blue.

    Oh, and Aron Baynes was a one-star recruit back in 2005. Those are guys considered end of the bench fillers. I’d say he turned out a little better than that.

  2. Longball said

    I remember being up at the gyms one day in the early 90’s with some friends shootin hoops and in came a few new members of Coach Sampson’s new recruiting class. Our jaws hit the floor when this white kid caught the ball under the basket, facing out towards mid-court with his toes on the end line, and jumped, off two feet, spun in the air and threw down a huge two hand jam. We were meeting Nate Erdman for the first time. There was also this goofy kid named Ike who we thought was a bit slow and herky-jerky, until he poured in 30+ points in his first game against Michigan State (In Puerto Rico, go figure). I have not been genuinely buzzed about Cougar hoop rookies since then. This is really exciting. I just moved back to Pullman and i am stoked to be here in person to see the new squad take shape.

  3. Broberg said

    With all the talk about these new recruits, I have to wonder about Fabian Boeke. How do you think he will fit into next year’s squad? Is he the kind of talent that could be a force on the court, or just a decent bench guy?

  4. Nuss said

    The answer is simple: Nobody knows. Not even the coaching staff.

    The guy had an injured back all year. His practice time was minimal. I think he’s the kind of guy who they thought could come in and contribute right away, before the NCAA and his injury held him up. Whenever I hear rumblings that another guy might be leaving, he’s the first one I think of. I don’t know how severe that back injury is, but it must be pretty severe for a guy to sit out all year.

  5. BillG said

    I think Boeke had a procedure in January Grippi termed “successful”. The guy can shoot from all accounts and is a pretty good athlete when healthy.

    Rumors are floating that Thomas Abercrombie is potentially going back home. There has been rumors that someone was going to leave. I guess it is possible Abercrombie doesn’t see himself getting playing time with a number of wings coming in next year. Don’t forget Lodwick was ahead of Abercrombie this year even though he redshirted.

    It’s too bad if true. Abercrombie is a good athlete on the team that just needs more confidence and to improve in a few areas.

  6. Nuss said

    That wouldn’t surprise me, either. He was a guy I think everyone thought was going to contribute this year, what with that tantalizingly athletic body. But every time he stepped on the floor, he looked completely lost, both in the motion offense and in defensive rotations — not exactly what you’d expect from a guy who spent a full year in the system as a redshirt. He clearly was physically ready to contribute, so that is troubling.

    Honestly, he just looked like he was thinking way to much out there. You have to wonder if at some point the light is going to flip on, or if it’s never going to happen after two years in the system. He just might be better suited to a free-flowing coach that can really take advantage of his physical attributes by not requiring such adherence to a system.

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