Basketball: WSU’s Thompson declares

Washington State junior guard Klay Thompson became the seventh Pac-10 player — the second from WSU — to declare early for the NBA draft. He said he won’t immediately hire an agent, giving him the option to possibly return to school.

Don’t count on it. Unless Thompson — whose father Mychal was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1978 draft — is convinced he won’t be chosen in the first round, he’s gone. Still, 40 underclassmen had declared as of Monday, and not all of them can be picked in the 30-player first round.

The website draftexpress.com, in its most recent projection, has Thompson as the No. 18 pick of the first round, but NBAdraft.net (as of April 14) does not have him listed in the first round.

Here’s the story from the Spokane Spokesman Review.


Basketball: Bears get 2012 commitment

Coach Mike Montgomery got his first verbal commitment for the class of 2012 from Kaileb Rodriguez, a 6-foot-9, 200-pound junior forward at ThunderRidge High in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Rodriguez averaged 10 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots as a junior this season.

“It’s really exciting,” said ThunderRidge coach Joe Ortiz told the Denver Post. “Obviously, we’ve known for a long time that he has some special talents. He works hard at his game.”


Football: Thursday night update

No real huge news tonight. A few nuggets:

  • Tight end Spencer Ladner was on crutches. Jeff Tedford said he tweaked his knee and was going to get it checked out Friday morning.
  • Tedford said right now Isi Sofele’s backups at tailback would be Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson and Mike Manuel, but once again reiterated that the incoming freshmen will get a long, hard look in the fall. He’s mostly talking about Brendan Bigelow and Daniel Lasco. “It would be those two guys right now, but we have some other guys,” Tedford said. “We have some guys coming in who are very talented.”
  • When asked if the quarterback competition could be settled by the end of spring practice on April 30, Tedford said “it’s possible.” But he also said one of the candidates would have to significantly separate himself. It still sounds like it will last into fall camp.
  • Tedford said there are some positives from having to leave campus for spring practices. “Especially with the year we’re getting ready to have (with home games at AT&T Park), it’s like going on the road every week,” he said. “You have to focus no matter where you are. They learn to get used to it and deal with it. It kind of teaches you to focus on the job at hand no matter where you are.”
  • It doesn’t sound like transfer Matt Williams is ready to make an impact on the offensive line this season, at least at this point. Williams is a native of England who didn’t start playing football until age 15.
  • “Matt Williams is learning about the speed of the game,” Tedford said. “He’s an attention-to-detail guy. He really wants to get it done. As of right now, it will take awhile.” 

Basketball: Arizona’s Derrick Williams to NBA

No surprise here — Arizona sophomore All-America forward and Pac-10 Player of the Year Derrick Williams announced Wednesday he is entering the NBA draft. Williams, projected as a top-five pick, said he will hire an agent, meaning his decision is final.

The website NBAdraft.net has Williams as the No. 1 overall pick, while draftexpress.com projects him at No. 2. The only queustion for Williams was the NBA’s looming labor issue.

Here’s the full news release from U of A and the latest from the Arizona Daily Star.

A pretty good Pac-10 all-star team of underclassmen is gone: Williams, forward Nikola Vucevic of USC, forward Tyler Honeycutt and guard Malcolm Lee of UCLA, and Washington guard Isaiah Thomas.

Still unknown is the future of Washington State junior guard Klay Thompson.


Basketball: Behrens makes it official

On the first day of the spring signing period, forward Christian Behrens of Tahoma High in Washington submitted his letter-of-intent to the Golden Bears. Behrens gave the Bears an oral commitment in February, but it became binding on Wednesday.

“I feel really fortunate to have Christian join the program,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said in a statement. “He has the versatility to play more than one position, and he gives us an active 6-8 player that has both perimeter and inside skills.

“I watched him develop for a number of years. He seems like a perfect fit for our needs, and he should be a great addition to our program. He’s a true student-athlete.”

Behrens suffered an ACL knee injury during the 2009-10 season and missed the early portion of his senior campaign. But he finished strong, scoring 21 points or more seven times, including career-highs of 32 points and 18 rebounds in the same game.

He averaged 20 points as a sophomore, then 22.4 points and 12.8 rebounds before being injured as a junior.

“I’m really excited to be a part of the Cal basketball team,” Behrens said. “I’m ready to get down there and start contributing. I really liked how family-oriented the team was, and I really like how hard they play. Iwas really impressed with how well they did this year, despite battling all the injuries and how it was supposed to be a ‘down’ year.

“It’s going to be a great honor to play for coach Montgomery, and I really liked the rest of the coaching staff, as well.”

Behrens joins fall signee David Kravish, a 6-9 forward from the Kansas City area, as incoming freshmen in the fall of 2011. Cal still has two available scholarships for nex season.