If you’re watching tonight’s game, by now you’ve started wondering who exactly this Jason Thompson is? The rookie from Rider scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first half of the Lakers game against the Kings Sunday night.
That’s right, Rider. It’s a 6,000-student university in New Jersey.
Thompson played four years of college ball at Rider, which is pretty rare these days for a guy that ends up being picked No. 12 overall in the NBA Draft. But Thompson was pretty raw coming in and needed the time to develop.
I actually saw him play last spring when Rider came out to Cal State Northridge as part of ESPN’s Bracket Buster Tournament. There were about 18 NBA scouts there too. And I have to say, Thompson had a horrible game, scoring just 11 points in 30 foul-plagued minutes against a team with one player over 6-foot-9 in uniform.
Kings GM Geoff Petrie was one of the scouts in attendance. He was so unimpressed, he left at halftime.
Fortunately for the Kings, first impressions didn’t hold up. Thompson wowed them in workouts before the draft, as soon as he got into training camp, and played well enough in the first seven games of the year to earn a spot in the starting lineup.
“I like him,” Lakers forward Lamar Odom said. “He can play. He’s really athletic. He can defend two positions, small forward and power forward. But he’s got small forward skills.”