Cougars prepare for Beavers game, return of Klay Thompson

Former Coug returns Saturday to be honored for basketball career

Klay Thompson played for WSU from 2008-2011 and was the 11th pick in the NBA Draft selected by the Golden State Warriors. Thompson’s jersey will soon be retired at WSU.

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Klay Thompson played for WSU from 2008-2011 and was the 11th pick in the NBA Draft selected by the Golden State Warriors. Thompson’s jersey will soon be retired at WSU.

RYAN ROOT, Evergreen reporter

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After the Cougars’ stunning victory against the No. 8 University of Oregon Ducks, the Cougars men’s basketball team will face the Oregon State University Beavers at 1 p.m. Saturday in Beasley Coliseum.

At halftime, WSU will welcome back former Cougar and current NBA star Klay Thompson to retire his jersey. Thompson’s teammate from the Golden State Warriors and fellow Splash Brother, Stephen Curry, will also be in attendance on Saturday.

“When you see something like that you got to be like ‘Woah, man, that’s big time,’” Pollard said.

During this week’s Zeppoz show, head coach Kyle Smith said the team is ecstatic to show out for Thompson and bring in a win for the fans.

“He’s the most famous [Cougar] right now,” Smith said. “Our guys are really tickled and want to please him.”

The team members plan on Thompson visiting them on Friday, Smith said in his post-game press conference on Thursday.

Sophomore forward CJ Elleby said he is excited to meet Thompson this weekend.

“I’m just excited that Klay is getting his jersey retired, and I get to be a part of this program while it’s happening,” Elleby said after practice on Tuesday.

Elleby further hinted at his excitement after defeating Oregon when he referred to himself as a “cousin to the Splash Brothers” after his performance on Thursday.

Pollard said he greatly appreciated the home crowd in WSU’s win over Oregon, and the program has a lot of energy for this weekend.

“There should be; it’s a big day Saturday,” Pollard said.

Oregon State went 10-2 in non-conference play this season, losing to Oklahoma and Texas A&M. This is the Beavers’ best start since the 2015-16 season when the team made its last NCAA Tournament appearance.

Oregon State’s roster includes a pair of impactful talents in senior forwards Kylor Kelley and Tres Tinkle. Tinkle is tied for first in the Pac-12 in scoring with 19.9 points per game, and Kelley leads in the Pac-12 in blocked shots with 4.1 per game.

Smith said the matchup between Elleby and Tinkle will be intriguing to see two left-handed shooters go head-to-head.

“Tinkle is great for college basketball,” Smith said. “That’ll be a good matchup.”

WSU will tip off against Oregon State at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Beasley Coliseum. The game will air on the Pac-12 Networks.