Thompson shines as USA cruises out of prelims

When last basketball season ended, I was all set to write this big post about how awesome Klay Thompson is. They say familiarity breeds contempt, and as a guy who started from the moment he stepped on campus, I felt like far too often we took his play for granted -- always wanting more from a guy who already was exceeding every reasonable expectation anyone could have had for him. 

Alas, time got away from me, and it never got written. But if there was still any question about Thompson's awesomeness, they should be answered at this point, as he's quietly putting together an excellent FIBA U19 tournament.

Team USA cruised out of preliminary play by putting a 112-55 whupping on Egypt. And while Pitt point guard Ashton Gibbs will get a lot press for his impressive 18 points in 18 minutes -- with six assists to boot -- Thompson quietly put together one heck of a game: 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting with 7 rebounds, one assist and one steal in 18 minutes.

While I don't have the time to crunch a bunch of rate stats, I can tell you that his overall eFG% for the tournament is 57.5, tied for third on the team but first among guards. And, naturally, he's first among guards in rebounds and fourth in assists. And if you're curious, no, he's still not getting to the line at all -- just three FT attempts. But I'm guessing he wasn't put on this team for his ability to get into the lane, so I wouldn't read too much into that. He's also turned the ball over five times in two games, but that's pretty skewed by the three he committed in the first game.

DeAngelo Casto has also been solid in his minutes. Guess who's leading the team in eFG? Casto has been as efficient as can be, converting eight of his 11 shots, although his rebounding has lagged behind what you would expect -- just eight in three games to go along with three blocks. It could be why he's lagging behind most of the other bigs in minutes.

Australia also cruised through preliminaries, and there's no other way to put this -- Brock Motum has been an absolute monster. He's first in points and tied for second in rebounds for the Aussies, who clinched first in their group by beating the snot out of Syria.

Both teams move on the next round, in which the top two teams from each preliminary group move on to form new groups. After that group play comes the medal round. Team USA plays next tomorrow at 4 p.m. PDT against Greece. Australia next plays tomorrow at 10 p.m. PDT against Kazakhstan.

There is one other Coug playing internationally this summer as well -- Nikola Koprivica is playing with Serbia, opening the tournament with six points and six rebounds in a win over Greece. Koprivica and the Serbians are playing Australia in their second game of pool play as I write this.

It doesn't look like there's any broadcast available of any of these games, but I'll let you know if I run across anything.

As an aside, if you've been wondering where I've been, my beautiful wife and I welcomed our second son into the world on June 22. Trystian Jeffrey Nusser was 5 pounds, 15 ounces and 20 inches ... and five weeks early. Because babies that are five weeks early aren't really ready to live on their own, he spent a week in the hospital. The last week has been spent acclimating to having two children at home. If you have two or more kids, you know what I'm talking about. Hence, the reason for my absence. But all should be back on track now.

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