Notebook: Thompson surges toward OSU

In our weekly Notebook feature, the national team explores creative and broad topics from the grassroots hoops realm.

Thompson elevates game as senior

In every season of his high school career since his freshman year, Stephen Thompson (pictured above) has improved his game. So it's no surprise that the 2015 Oregon State signee has made another jump forward as a senior.

Thompson, a 6-foot-3, 160-pound shooting guard from Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery, begins state playoffs this week but last Saturday led his school to a city title, knocking off Etiwanda (Calif.) 56-50 in the Open Division finals.

His high school career isn't over yet but no matter what happens over the next couple weeks, the four-star prospect will start preparation for his career in Corvallis - where he'll join father Stephen Thompson, Sr., an assistant coach at Oregon State - with his head held high.

Thompson has become one of the West Coast's dynamic scorers over the last several months. As he's gotten stronger, his ball skills have only improved, as has the consistency of his long range jumper, his floater and ability to drive to the rim and either get to the line or finish with contact.

Another area of Thompson's game that's improved is his vision and while scoring is what he does best, he has the handle, passing ability and basketball IQ to play on the ball.

Add in his natural feel as a defender - he's terrific playing the passing lanes - consistent motor, work ethic and character and you have a player who you can count on to have a very successful college career in the Pac-12.

— Josh Gershon

Marquette adds another quality piece

Steve Wojciechowski has put together a terrific 2015 recruiting class.

While Henry Ellenson is the clear gem of the class, he's surrounded him with quality players that can help impact his program. On Tuesday, Marquette added another quality piece in Traci Carter.

Carter, who was under recruited in my opinion, is a tough and fearless lead guard who can be used in a few different roles. He's effective as a lead guard because he has good vision and can run a team. But he's also an equipped scorer that shoots it well from the perimeter and off the dribble from mid-range.

With Carter, Haanif Cheatham and Sacar Anim in the back court, Marquette will get a boost from a scoring and skill standpoint. All three of those guards can help them in time. Cheatham has a nice feel for the game, while Anim has built a reputation as a scorer and is having a monster senior season.

Marquette's class current ranks No. 5 overall in the 2015 recruiting class rankings.

— Evan Daniels

More MU: Wojciechowski leads way for first year coaches

When Traci Carter announced for Marquette on Tuesday, that decision pushed the Golden Eagles to the No. 5 position in our updated team recruiting rankings.

Carter may prove to be a national surprise

While a class that highly rated would impress for any coach, at any program, the fact that Steve Wojciechowski has accomplished this feat in his first year stands out as remarkable. The previously monikered “Wojo” always was considered a physically tough player, and he has proved mentally resilient as a head coach while recruiting through a down year at MU.

Of course, he studied at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski for 15 years, exposing him to the machinations of an elite program. Not only did he get to sharpen his actual coaching, he was able to learn and apply top-notch recruiting efforts.

The Golden Eagles gained their most significant win of the cycle when No. 7 senior Henry Ellenson pledged last fall, but their five-player class includes three total top-100 players, another four star in Carter, and rising senior guard Sacar Anim. They recruited one player for each position, and thus the jockeying for playing time between rookies and veterans next fall should be fierce.

Very quickly, Wojciechowski has established himself as one of the Big East’s most potent recruiters.

— Rob Harrington

Walker showing major improvement

One of the nice surprises this season in the Midwest has been the play of Purdue 2016 pledge C.J. Walker.

The 5-foot-11 Walker is one of the toughest kids you will ever find on the court, and with the graduation last year of Trey Lyles, this year had to take on the roles of scorer, team leader, and rebounder.

And with all of that on his plate, Walker excelled. Unlike last year, Walker wasn't able to get to the state title, but he had a tremendous performance in the playoffs and did everything one could reasonably expect.

He reminds me a lot at the same stage as Fred VanVleet. Like VanVleet he doesn't have ideal size or athleticism but he has the intelligence and toughness to make up for it, and always seems to find a way to win games.

— Brian Snow

Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this article

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