With his youngest son, Ethan Thompson, committing to Oregon State on Monday evening, the Beavers have a trifecta of Thompsons in the program. Stephen Jr. is a sophomore guard who is being counted on this season to help replace the offensive void left by the departures of Gary Payton II and Derrick Bruce.
All jokes about riding the family connection aside, Ethan is a huge get for the Beavers. The 6-5, 170-pound guard out of Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California is one of the top players in the nation. He’s a 4-star talent and is ranked 51st nationally by ESPN, higher than his brother or Tres Tinkle were ranked coming out of high school.
Ethan chose OSU over Stanford and Syracuse, the latter of which is his father’s alma mater. He held offers from other schools including Pac-12 rivals California, Utah, and Southern California. Beating out Stanford, with its tradition and academic prestige, was no easy feat, even if OSU had a huge advantage.
In order for the Beavers to continue trending upward in the talent-laden and competitive Pac-12, they have to win more of these types recruiting battles against their conference foes. With that in mind, it can’t be stressed enough how big landing Ethan was for OSU. And in case you are worried or skeptical about the coaching staff’s ability to recruit outside of the family, look no further than JaQuori McLauglin, a 4-star combo guard who signed with the Beavers this spring; he was heavily recruited by Washington and Utah.
Barring injuries, transfers, or departures, the addition of Ethan means that the Beavers should have a loaded backcourt for a while. Starting with the 2017-18 season, it would consist of Stephen Jr. (junior), McLaughlin (sophomore), Ronnie Stacy (senior), and whoever else the coaching staff might add between now and then.
And what could Ethan bring to the Beavers? He has more of mid-range game than his brother, but steadily improved his 3-point shooting last season. Like his brother, he’s a strong ball-handler and has a lot of potential defensively. For a more complete breakdown of Ethan’s skill set, read Scout basketball analyst Josh Gershon’s report. If he puts on muscle, maybe he could slide over to the 3…
Imagine the Thompson brothers and McLaughlin on the court together. They could become one of the top backcourts in the Pac-12, if not the nation. Way premature talk, right? But it’s hard not to be excited about what Ethan’s commitment means for the program. It keeps the pipeline of talent that the coaching staff has built in two short years flowing.
And with Ethan being OSU’s highest-ranked recruit, yet, the bar is set even higher — meaning tougher battles against more elite programs in coming years. But it’s a nice place to be in considering the program’s struggles prior to Tinkle arriving in Corvallis. Beaver fans no longer need to be shocked when elite players commit, because the coaches expect to land top talent. So, Ethan, welcome to Oregon State University.
One final thought, do any of the OSU basketball coaches have a son who is 7 feet tall, or have a son who is projected to grow that tall?