Thompson makes NBA official, is Aden heir?

WASHINGTON STATE'S basketball team had no seniors this past season, but the rebuilding process officially began Sunday night when Klay Thompson announced he is definitely leaving for the NBA just ahead of the deadline.

College players had to withdraw from the NBA draft by midnight Eastern time Sunday to retain their college eligibility. Thompson made himself eligible for the draft last month, but retained his college eligibility by not signing with an agent.

"After taking the last few weeks to make my decision about the NBA, I have decided to remain in the NBA draft," Thompson said in a statement. I am proud to be a Cougar and will miss my teammates, coaches, friends, the WSU community and the great Cougar fans. I am thankful for my three years at Washington State and have enjoyed my time in Pullman. My dream has always been to play in the NBA and I am excited to take the next step in making that a reality."

Chad Ford, the NBA draft expert for ESPN, recently predicted the Washington Wizards will draft Thompson with the 18th pick in the first round.

Thompson, a junior shooting guard, ranked 11th nationally and led the Pacific-10 Conference with 21.6 ppg.

Thompson set WSU single-season records in 2010-11 with 733 points and 98 3-pointers, and his 21.6 scoring average ranks fourth. His career marks of 1,796 points and 17.9 ppg rank third.

"Klay has done a great job preparing himself for the NBA and we wish him nothing but the best," WSU coach Ken Bone said in the statement released Sunday evening.

WSU's leading rebounder, junior post DeAngelo Casto, is also bypassing his senior year to turn pro. Ford ranks Casto the 104th-best prospect for the NBA draft. Only 60 players are drafted, so Casto may wind up overseas.

Bone projects Faisal Aden, who will be a senior wing, to take over much of the scoring load from Thompson. The coach has also said junior-to-be Brock Motum is the top candidate to replace Casto.

Aden and Motum were reserves most of the past season with nine starts apiece. Aden ranked second to Thompson on the Cougars with 12.7 points per game and 52 3-pointers. Motum ranked fifth with 7.6 ppg and tied starting point guard Reggie Moore for sixth in rebounding at 3.0.

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