Thompson High on Beilein & Michigan

One of the hottest 2008 targets of Michigan's basketball recruiting board appears to be Santa Margarita SG Klay Thompson. The son of former LA Laker Mychal Thompson has seen his stock shoot up in the eys of a number of college programs thanks to a strong summer on the AAU circuit. Now he is in the midst comparing his list of finalists, and the Wolverines are right in the thick of things.

When watching Klay Thompson play, the word versatility comes to mind. The wing guard out of Santa Margarita, California can play multiple positions. He handles well enough to get minutes at the point, shoots it well enough to play shooting guard, and has the size to play the small forward spot if needed.

Michigan has been one of the more aggressive schools in his recruitment since the July evaluation period began. They turned up the heat significantly with phone calls and attention. Both Michigan headman John Beilein and assistant John Mahoney have made him aware that he is a priority for the Maize & Blue.

“I talked to Coach Beilein yesterday,” Thompson told GoBlueWolverine late Tuesday evening. “We talked about how I would fit in with the program and how I would get early playing time. I’ve also been talking to Coach Mahoney. We talk about a lot of other things besides just basketball. He is always checking up on me to see how I am doing”.

There are two points that will determine where he attends college and that is early playing time and fitting in with the program. He has spoken about this with his high school coach Jerry Debusk and his dad former University of Minnesota and Los Angeles Laker standout, Mychal Thompson.

“They tell me to take my time and go where it will be a good fit for me so that I can develop as a player,” Thompson said.

That is where Michigan’s head man coach John Beilein could have an advantage. Considering his penchant for developing players at every stop leading up to his current residence in Ann Arbor, it stands to reason that it would play favorably in his pursuit of Thompson. Apparently, that track record has indeed made an impression.

“I really like Coach Beilein,” said Thompson. “If he could win at West Virginia, just think about what he could do at Michigan.”

Michigan isn’t the only school hotly pursuing the talented guard. Notre Dame and Mike Brey have picked up the pace with weekly contact and Thompson likes their style of play. The school that both programs may be chasing, however, is Pepperdine. Thompson has visited the school number of times already, including three recent trips; once for their elite basketball camp, once for open gym, and again this past weekend just to visit. His familiarity with the program, which is enhanced by his brother Mychal’s presence at the school, has caused him to put Waves in the catbird’s seat.

“I liked it a lot and they are at the top of my list and one of my top schools,” Thompson said to Scout.com’s Evan Daniels after his most recent trip to Pepperdine. “I really like it.”

Thompson has also visited Nevada, but he now plans to venture out to a few places a lot further away from home in hopes of getting closer to a decision. He’ll be visiting Notre Dame September 1st, Michigan September 8th, and Vanderbilt September 15th. Washington State rounds out his top five, but he has yet to set a visit date to Pullman.

“Distance is not a factor,” Thompson said regarding the chances of the schools a few time zones away. “My father is from the Midwest.”

Thompson indicated that his decision will likely come sometime in October. That makes those upcoming visits all the more crucial for each of the remaining programs. When he sets foot on the respective campuses he has a set list of criteria that he will be looking for.

"How I relate to the players and coaches is big," said Thompson to Scout.com’s Greg Hicks regarding the factors in his choice. "Also, the style of play is important.”


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