KLAY THOMPSON: Three block in gold medal triumph
UTTER DOMINATION in international basketball appears to be a thing of the past for American teams, so WSU's Klay Thompson had special reason to be proud when his team gave the U.S. its first gold medal at the Under-19 World Championships since 1991.
"That really made it feel better and made us feel like were actually a real special team," Thompson said after the Americans capped a 9-0 tournament run with an 88-80 triumph over Greece on Sunday in Auckland, New Zealand.
Thompson started the last five games and averaged 7.8 points (sixth on the team), 4.4 rebounds (fourth) and 19.3 minutes (third).
He led the Americans in 3-point shooting percentage at 51.6 (16 for 31), but he was last on the team in free-throw shooting percentage at 50.0 (4 for 8).
Thompson said any individual accomplishments paled in comparison to coming home with a gold medal.
"It means everything for our country and for these guys," Thompson said. "It feels amazing for the work we put in for 30 days and such a great result. It just feels so good."
WSU's DeAngelo Casto, who started two of four games before heading to the sidelines with a knee injury (torn meniscus), had the highest field-goal shooting percentage on the U.S. team (71.4 on 10-for-14 shooting). He averaged 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 13.5 minutes.
-- Koprivica golden: Nikola Koprivica never left the bench in the title game, but the boundlessly upbeat Cougar was thrilled to be part of the Serbian team that won the World University Games basketball championship Saturday in his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia.
Nearly 22,000 fans turned out to watch Serbia crush Russia 73-51 to win the gold medal.
"Having 22,000 people wait for you to get your medal, chanting your name . it was awesome," Koprivica said.
Koprivica, a veteran of international play with Serbian teams, was captain of the winning team at the Under-20 European Championships last year. Koprivica will be the lone senior on the Cougars next season.
-- Rochestie solid: Rookie point guard Taylor Rochestie out of Washington State cooled off Monday after playing well in his first two games with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Rochestie nailed 8 of 10 shots and scored 17 points in the Lakers' first two games, but he had just one point on 0-for-3 shooting in 18 minutes Monday in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Rochestie is averaging 6.0 points, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.0 turnovers and 19 minutes.
Center Aron Baynes, a teammate of Rochestie at WSU and with the Lakers summer team, has struggled. Baynes has made just 2 of 13 field-goal attempts and is averaging 1.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 10 minutes.
Neither Rochestie or Baynes are under contract to the Lakers. Summer League play is limited almost exclusively to young players with little or no NBA experience.
The Lakers' five-game Summer League schedule continues Tuesday night with a game against Oklahoma City and ex-Cougar guard Kyle Weaver. Weaver led the Thunder with 11 points in 18 minutes off the bench in the Thunder's first game in Las Vegas. Weaver averaged 5.3 points and 20.8 minutes as an NBA rookie and part-time starter last season.
-- Job filled: Washington State on Tuesday hired Kelli Kamimura as its women's golf head coach. Kamimura most recently served at Pepperdine University as the associate women's golf coach.
At Pepperdine, Kamimura helped lead the Wave to six consecutive West Coast Conference Championships (2004-09) and four top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including a third-place finish in 2006. Kamimura's 2008 squad set an NCAA record for lowest three-round team score, shooting 41-under-par at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown.
Prior to joining Pepperdine's staff, Kamimura served as the assistant women's golf coach at her alma mater, the University of Washington, from August 2002 through December 2003.