PULLMAN - The Washington State Cougars, fighting for seeding in the Pacific-10 Conference basketball tournament and a possible NCAA tournament bid, will likely be missing two starters when they finish league play this afternoon against visiting UCLA.
Coach Ken Bone suspended Pac-10 scoring leader Klay Thompson for at least one game Friday after Thompson was ticketed for misdemeanor marijuana possession when his truck was stopped after Thursday night’s home game with USC.
Point guard Reggie Moore missed Friday’s practice after going down early in Thursday’s game with a sprained right ankle. Moore, who wore a protective boot Thursday night, was seen on crutches Friday and was listed as “doubtful” by a WSU spokesperson.
WSU’s practice was closed to the media Friday. Bone issued a brief statement that stated neither he nor anyone else on the team would have any other comment.
“The situation will continue to be evaluated throughout the weekend,” Bone said.
The Cougars (19-10, 9-8 Pac-10) are tied for fourth place. Thursday’s win over USC clinched a first-round bye for WSU at the Pac-10 tourney, which begins Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Pullman Police said Thompson, the 12th-leading scorer in NCAA Division I through Thursday at 21.4 points per game, was pulled over at 11 p.m. Thursday for driving with a broken headlight.
The arresting officer said he smelled marijuana in Thompson’s truck. A search of the vehicle ensued, and police said 1.95 grams of marijuana was found. At least six other WSU athletes have been cited for marijuana in less than four months.
Police commander Chris Tennant said 1.95 grams of marijuana would evenly line about half an inch at the bottom of a sandwich bag. Tennant said the arresting officer conducted a brief eye test of Thompson and determined he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Mychal Thompson, a former NBA standout who now works as a broadcaster for the Los Angeles Lakers, said his son told him and the police that the marijuana did not belong to him.
Mychal Thompson, making a pre-arranged appearance on a Los Angeles sports talk radio show Friday morning, discussed his son’s arrest for about half an hour on the show.
“I can’t put it into words how disappointed I am in my son,” Thompson told ESPN 700 listeners.
Thompson said he “probably” would suspend Klay for the rest of the season if he was coaching the Cougars; the arrest “might” impact Klay’s draft status in the NBA; and the incident demonstrates that Klay is “not ready” to turn pro this year. A junior guard, Klay has been considering the possibility of passing up his senior season.
Thompson said he suspected something negative had taken place when Klay phoned him at 7 a.m. Friday.
“He calls me and says, ‘Dad, I really messed up,’ ” Thompson said.
Thompson said Klay has told him he has friends who use drugs, but he abstains. Thompson seemed uncertain after Thursday’s incident.
“Klay has been around some bad influences,” Thompson said. “But like I said, I don’t blame them.
“I figured, yeah, if Klay’s buddies are smoking a joint here and there, I don’t think he would do it because he knows what’s at stake. And that’s what disappoints me, that he gave in to that, knowing what was at stake.”
Relaying what he told his son earlier Friday, Thompson said, “Not only are you letting yourself down, you let your team down. You’re the best player, arguably, in the Pac-10. I’m a father, so I’m a little bit biased.
“You’re the best player on your team. You’re the leading scorer on the team. They need you. Your teammates look up to you. They need you for your leadership.
“They’ve got a HUGE game tomorrow against UCLA, you’re trying to get to the NCAA tournament and win the Pac-10 tournament, and this is what you do?”