NBA Bound: Why Jason Thompson Is Not The Typical MAAC NBA Prospect

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IIFebruary 2, 2008

After seeing Jason Thompson live three times, and multiple times on T.V., I have conlcuded that he will not be like most other NBA prospects who have played in the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Thompson is 6'11", can play down low with his back to the basket, rebound, handle the ball, run the floor, knock down jumpers, and even hit an occasional three pointer. He is truly an all around player.

When was the last time that the MAAC saw such a versatile 6'11" center?

The answer: never. 

Thompson's ability to handle the ball, and run the floor is comparable to the likes of Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley. Let's not go crazy, Durant played in the Big 12 and Beasley plays in the Big 12.

No. Let's go crazy.

Last year Jason Thompson was the only player, other than Durant, in the NCAA to score 20 points and grab 10 rebounds a game. This year Thompson outplayed Beasley when Rider met Kansas State in November. Thompson went for 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Beasley scored 13 points, grabbed 10 boards, and did not have a block. 

Sure Thompson has two inches on both Durant and Beasley, but Durant was the number two pick in the NBA draft. Beasley should be at least that. I am not making the case that Thompson should be the number one pick. I am saying that he should be getting more recognition, and that he will not wash out like other MAAC NBA draftees.

Most people who don't know the histories of MAAC schools would not recognize names like Steve Burtt, Mike Morrison, Larry Fogle, Luis Flores, and Jared Jordan.

The only NBA studs that have been produced by MAAC teams are Calvin Murphy (Niagara), Jeff Ruland (Iona), Richie Guerin (Iona), and Rik Smits (Marist).

All the washouts from the MAAC have been guards. Ruland and Smits were big men who put up similar numbers in college to those of Thompson. In his four years at Iona, Ruland averaged 20.8 points and 12 boards per game. Smits scored 18.2 points and pulled down 7.6 rebounds in four seasons at Marist.

In almost four years at Rider, Thompson is averaging 16.2 points and 9.1 rebounds. His worst season was his freshman season when he only averaged 9.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Don't forget, he was only 6'8" in the beginning of his career at Rider. Jason is averaging 18.9 points and 9.8 rebounds from his sophomore season until the present. 

Thompson will be valuable to an NBA team who needs a big man, and he will stick around the league for years due to his all around game. 

In thirty years, people will remember the name Jason Thompson.