The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

86° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Hoops hopes to trump Thompson

    Klay Thompson
    Klay Thompson

    A short and simple sentence could appear on Arizona’s pregame whiteboard before the men’s basketball team’s Friday tilt against Pacific 10 Conference foe Washington State University:

    Stop Klay Thompson.

    That’s what the Wildcats (7-7, 1-1 Pac-10) with attempt to do in their first conference home game, which is set to tip off at 6:30 p.m. in McKale Center.

    “”It’s going to be a tough challenge for Solomon right here,”” UA freshman forward Derrick Williams joked Tuesday, smiling at Hill during the players’ press conference. “”He did good on (UCLA’s Michael) Roll so I have complete confidence he’ll do the same thing.””

    But Arizona head coach Sean Miller won’t rely on just Hill to defend against the 6-foot-6, 187 pound Thompson, who is currently third in the nation by averaging 24.3 points per game.

    Miller said he will likely give the Cougar forward five different defenders in hopes of keeping the Wildcat team fresh and focused.

    “”I think our goal would be not to let him have a great night,”” Miller said, “”and if he scores 24 points, then let’s make sure he shoots a lot of shots to get them and make sure he earns all the points that he gets.””

    Thompson, a sophomore at Washington State (11-3, 1-1), will be another in the long list of high-scoring perimeter player Arizona has faced this season.

    So far, the Wildcats have struggled to defend such players.

    Against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, they gave up 25 to guard Tre’von Willis and even NAU Lumberjack guard Cameron Jones dropped 29 points on the Wildcat defense. Most recently, Arizona allowed a McKale Center record 49 points to BYU guard Jimmer Fredette.

    Miller hopes his young squad uses their poor performance against Fredette as motivation.

    “”If there’s something that you want to make a silver lining having gone through that experience is you certainly don’t want to go through it a second time,”” Miller said. “”I hope that the lessons that we’ve learned, the ones that we can control, we can learn when you’re not at your best and you’re playing against a single player that is having a great, great night, you have to make him miss.””

    Luckily, some of the Wildcats have seen Thompson’s game first-hand while he played at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in California.

    Hill, then a junior at Fairfax High School, played against Thompson in a game he went into without a detailed scouting report on Thompson, who is the son of Mychal Thompson, the NBA’s No. 1 pick in the 1978 NBA Draft.

    Before Hill knew it, the soon-to-be Cougar had hit three 3-pointers over his outstretched arms.

    “”It was like a couple feet back from the 3-point line,”” Hill said. “”I think he’s about to miss it, and I’m about to run down to the other half of the court, and I get yelled at by my coach because he makes it and he makes a couple more as he goes off screens.

    “”It was just a long night for me,”” Hill added.

    For Arizona’s sake, stopping Thompson will be a key to beating the Cougars. Beating the Cougars is key into jumping into the beginning of the conference schedule with a message and will give the team momentum leading into Sunday’s contest with the No. 24 University of Washington Huskies (10-3, 1-1).

    “”This is the one (conference series) right here to see where we stand,”” Hill said. “”If you get two home games under your belt, that’s big time.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search