Congratulations, Jason Thompson…the 12th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft!

Sacramento Kings 2008 Draft Pick – Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson, a senior out of Rider University, was selected by the Sacramento Kings last night with the 12th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. Projected to go later in the first round, Thompson’s stock rose to the point where he was taken as a lottery pick by the Kings.

Geoff Petrie, the Kings’ president of basketball operations, on selecting Thompson with the No. 12 pick…

We had considered a small at 12, but as the draft went on, we felt the best place to go was to go big. He was the number one pick at 12 for us if we were going to go big. He is a 20 (point) and 12 (rebound) guy and there was only one other guy like that, and that was (Michael) Beasley. He gives us another young forward that I think will compliment the rest of the people we have such as Spencer (Hawes).

When we first met him he was 6’2’’ in high school or maybe even junior high and was playing point guard. He said ‘but I have these big feet’ so when he got to college he was around 6’4” and then grew to 6’10”. Again, when you see him make plays he really runs well and is really comfortable when he makes plays with the ball. I think that some of that is because he got an early start playing a position that was more of a size for his body at that time.

It is such a gradual process as you work through all of the different players that work into all of the other information and reports you have on people. At some point you have to make a choice. I think we made a good one.

He is a more mature kid and his game is more developed. It is part of our process of trying to rebuild our front line, plus we have other areas we need to work on too, but we can’t do that with just one player, unless Magic Johnson just so happened to be there at number 12, but he wasn’t.

Kudos to the Kings for taking Jason at No. 12…and for their web site staff for putting the following splash page up just minutes after the team made the selection (click image to enlarge):

The Sacramento Kings selected Rider's Jason Thompson with the 12th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft.

Rider, Jason Thompson continue playing in CBI tournament

Well, it’s not the NCAA Tournament, or even the NIT…but the Rider men’s basketball team (23-10, RPI #110) will get a chance to play at least one more game when the Broncs visit Old Dominion on Tuesday night in the first round of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational tournament.

I’m not sure if this CBI tournament is going to last beyond this year. Any tournament that has teams declining home games because of money issues and then invites Cincinnati (13-18) to play has some real issues. But it’s giving Jason Thompson and Rider a chance to keep playing, which they deserve.

Jason Thompson carries Rider into MAAC final

Jason Thompson scored 32 points — reaching the 2,000-point mark for his career in the process — and grabbed 18 rebounds in leading No. 2 seed Rider to a thrilling 76-71 come-from-behind victory over sixth-seeded Marist in Sunday’s semifinal round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament in Albany, N.Y.

The Broncs (23-9) advanced to face top seed Siena in Monday night’s championship game. Rider will be making its second appearance in the MAAC title game, with the previous trip resulting in a loss to Niagara in 2005. A win would put the Broncs in the NCAA Tournament since back-t0-back appearances in 1993 and ’94, when they were members of the Northeast Conference.

Rider was without sophomore guard Ryan Thompson (concussion), who is Jason’s younger brother, and starting point guard Justin Robinson (high ankle sprain). Both were injured in Saturday’s 75-71 quarterfinal win over 10th-seeded Canisius.