Premier junior guards from Washington and Washington State make elite list that determines the nation’s top player.
Isaiah Thomas and Klay Thompson, the court leaders and top scorers for Washington and Washington State this season, both have been included in the midseason 30-player candidate list for the 2011 Naismith Award.
The award, presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, recognizes the premier collegiate basketball player in the nation, regardless of position or grade level.
Thomas, a 5-foot-9 junior point guard from Tacoma, leads the Pac-10 Conference in assists (5.9) and is third in scoring (16.8 ppg). Thomas also ranks 21st nationally in assists per game.
Against Cal Thursday, he scored 23 points with nine assists, becoming just the second Husky to every reach the 1,500-point/300-assist/100-steal plateau, joining Eldridge Recasner. Additionally, he moved up to 8th all-time on the UW scoring charts with 1,520 points.
He has scored in double figures 81 times during his career — the fourth most in team history — and has eclipsed 20 points 24 times (9th most).
Thompson, a native of Ladera Ranch, CA., leads the league and ranks 12th in the nation in scoring with 20.9 points per game. He ranks fourth on WSU’s career scoring list with 1,525 points after becoming the third-fastest Cougar to reach 1,000 points last season as a sophomore.
Thompson also ranks among the league’s top five in 3-point field goals made (first, 2.9 mpg), assists (third, 4.3 apg), steals (fourth, 2.0 spg) and free-throw percentage (fifth, .808).
The 6-7 junior guard is the son of legendary NBA star Mychal Thompson.
One other Pac-10 player is on the list, Arizona’s 6-8 sophomore forward Derrick Williams.
Some other prominent players on the 30-candidate list include: BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, Notre Dame’s Ben Hansbrough, San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard, St. Mary’s Mickey McConnell, Kansas’ Marcus Morris, Connecticut’s Kemba Walker, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Duke’s Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.
The Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston.