The long countdown to the Washington-Washington State men’s basketball game on Sunday has begun — if not exactly with a bang, then at least with a few sparks.
Those may have started when WSU guard and Pacific-10 Conference player-of-the-year candidate Klay Thompson of was asked by a Seattle radio station who should win the award.
His answer: Derrick Williams of Arizona.
And while that wouldn’t seem to qualify as trash talk, UW guard Isaiah Thomas – also a player of the year candidate – noticed his omission.
“I laughed at it,” Thomas said today. “It’s all good, though. We’ll see who wins come Sunday. I’m not into all that. We’ll see who wins come Sunday. I’m not into all that. He can say what he wants.”
Thomas also pointed out that he is 4-0 against the Cougars, and that’s what matters.
Just minutes later in a separate press conference, Thompson was asked directly about Thomas, he offered a series of measured compliments that topped out at “really good.”
“He’s a good player,” Thompson began. “Very athletic for his size. Really quick. And a better playmaker than people give him credit for. He’s done a better job of that this year. We just have to slow him down. … He’s a really good player.”
Both teams – and their fans – have added time to focus on the rivalry because neither has played since Saturday, and because this tipoff comes later than usual: 7 p.m. Sunday in Pullman.
“That Washington State rivalry is the Apple Cup of basketball,” Thomas said. “These are the games you want to play in, and you know it’s going to be a crazy game for both teams.”