Look for Klay Thompson's stock to climb

KLAY THOMPSON

LOOK FOR KLAY Thompson's draft stock to rise. He was shooting lights out at the recently concluded NBA draft combine in Chicago. Chad Ford of ESPN dubbed Thompson's work "the most impressive shooting performance of the camp." Up to now, most draft forecasters have had Thompson going in next month's draft somewhere in the middle of the first round.

Another thing going Klay Thompson's way is height. Long listed as 6-6, he came out of the combine measuring a little over 6-7 with his shoes on, according to Yahoo.com.

Speaking of Klay, Bud Withers of the Seattle Times did a nice story on him last week asking what the Thompson legacy is at WSU. As part of it all, Withers pondered whether Thompson is the greatest hooper ever at WSU. Withers' conclusion was the same as mine: NOPE.

That honor, based on leading his team to two trips to the Big Dance and a mountain of statistical support, belongs to one multi-dimensional Kyle Weaver -- the only baller in Pac-10 history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 175 steals and 75 blocked shots.

For me, the debate isn't even close. I think Klay was tremendous, and will never forget his various outpourings on the Dawgs this past season. But in terms of overall impact on the program, I have to go enthusisatically with Weaver.

Besides Weaver and Thompson, others who I'd entertain in a discussion of the best ever – or at least in my lifetime – are Jim McKean, Steve Puidokas, Don Collins, Ike Fontaine, Mark Hendrickson and Bennie Seltzer. Another guy who no doubt would have been part of the discussion were it not for injury is Guy Williams, an uber-talent on George Raveling's last two WSU squads.

From that group, I'd go strongly with Collins, though I admit it's hard to justify not going with Puidokas, a scoring and rebounding machine who is the only hooper in WSU history to have his number retired. (For an interesting look at the life and times of Puidokas, head to the CF.C archives, which can be found in the middle of our front page.)

If Thompson is drafted No. 18 overall, as ESPN has predicted, he'll tie Collins as the highest-ever draft pick out of WSU. Collins, the Pac-10 Player of the Year and an AP All-American, went to Atlanta with the 18th pick in 1980. No other Cougars have been taken in the first round. Three have gone in the second round: Williams to Washington, with the 34th overall pick in 1983; Brian Quinnett to New York with the 50th overall in 1989; and Weaver to Charolotte in 2008 with the 38th overall pick.

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