Thompson, following the worst offensive game of his college career, told CF.C on Saturday that he is no longer considering the possibility of making himself eligible for the NBA draft this summer.
“I’ll be here for sure,” Thompson said after scoring a career-low two points in the Cougars win over USC at Friel Court. “I just don’t think I’m ready yet physically.
“Hopefully one day, whether that’s next year or (after) my senior year, I’ll have a chance to play at that level.”
Thompson, who scored 12.5 points per game last season while starting all 33 games his freshman year, averages a team-leading 20.1 this season. He led the nation in scoring earlier this season and was being touted as a possible low first-round draft pick if he decided to turn pro after the season.
Thompson’s field-goal shooting percentage has dropped from 42.1 percent last year to 40.2 this year. He sank 41.2 percent of his 3-pointers last season, but he’s down to 35.2 percent this season after going 0 for 3 from beyond the arc Saturday.
“He’s a very, very good college basketball player, but he’s been going through a tough time,” WSU coach Ken Bone said.
Thompson has recorded a game-high six turnovers in each of the past two contests. He averages 3.3 turnovers per game, up from 2.1 last season.
Thompson labeled his Saturday performance “embarrassing” He added, “That’s fine, because we got the ‘W’ (win).”
Bone praised Thompson for his defense, rebounding and passing against USC. Bone noted that Thompson often helps his teammates score and/or grab offensive rebounds because he draws so much defensive attention.
“In his mind, he probably had the worst game of his career,” Bone said. “In our (the coaching staff’s) minds, he was not good on one end and pretty darn good on the other.”
Senior Dwight Lewis, who led USC with 14 points, guarded Thompson most of the game. Thompson and Marcus Capers shared defensive duties against Lewis, and Thompson drew a foul from Lewis with 42.6 seconds to go after blocking Lewis’ baseline jumper with WSU clinging to a 48-44 lead.
“He (Lewis) played good defense, but at times, I just didn’t hit the shots,” Thompson said. “I think it was maybe my legs (being tired)...I didn’t get my legs under it (his upper body). I was too upright.”
A reporter asked Bone if he would have laughed prior to the game if someone had suggested that Thompson would go 0 for 12 from the field but the Cougars would still win.
“No,” Bone said with a smile, “because 0 for 12 is not funny.”
While Thompson endured his worst night as a collegian, Abe Lodwick was there to help fill the void. Lodwick brought intensity on both ends of the court in a way that seemed to help lift his teammates to do the same. After arguably the most flat-footed, lackluster effort of the year for the Cougs on Thursday against UCLA, Bone inserted Lodwick into the starting lineup for USC. Nikola Koprivica still got 20 minutes coming off the bench and contributed seven boards to go along with his six points, but Lodwick, who also played 20 minutes, was the catalyst. And he was apparently rewarded for his efforts as Bone had him on the floor during crunch time late in the second half. Lodwick finished with 11 points, four rebounds, a steal and an assist. His impact, however, was even larger than the numbers would indicate.