Jason Thompson = The Real Deal
The 6-foot-11 (yup, you read right) 6-11 senior went for 20 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and four assists as the Broncs defeated Marist 79-65 at the McCann Center Wednesday night.
Thompson was one of only three other players last year to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, as a junior. The other two: Well, you may have heard of Kevin Durant and the other was, Nevada's Nick Fazekas.
This season, Thompson is averaging 19.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.
The Saints (8-2, 13-7) and Broncs (9-2, 16-6) will tangle for first place in the MAAC on Saturday at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.
Here's what Siena coach Fran McCaffery said about Thompson on Monday at his weekly media luncheon.
"He works really hard. He's arguably the most talented player in the league, but he works hard. He plays hard, he competes. Having recruited him in high school, he's gotten better every year, so he obviously works at his game. A lot of guys level off, but I haven't seen that with him and that's why I think he's going to play in the pros."
Thompson is currently ranked No. 67 in the ESPN Top 100 Draft Tracker.
"As good as he is, he still as upside and you know he's willing to work," McCaffery said. "He's one of the better running big men I've ever coached against. He continually runs hard down the floor, beats other team's big men down the floor. He can play in traffic. He's tremendous handling the basketball."
Thompson's brother Ryan also plays for Rider, and he is the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 15.3 points per game as a sophomore.
Coming from the southern part of New Jersey, Rider seemed like an obvious choice for Thompson, but McCaffery thought he had a chance at landing a steal in the big man, when he coached back at UNC-Greensboro.
"I remember going up there to watch him play," McCaffery said. "He was 6-9, 6-10 and he's dribbling the ball like a guard, banging three's. Everyone said he couldn't go inside, he could go inside. He was skinny, but he could go inside and make baskets and he had a post-game. No qustion in my mind, I think he's a first round draft pick. I don't think he's a second round pick, I think he's a first round pick."
Siena's defense will be in for it on Saturday afternoon. It should be a good one.