Thompson drafted by ailing Cavaliers

Sara Beth Purdy

Tristan Thompson was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. This selection makes Thompson the third highest selection to come from Texas behind LaMarcus Aldridge in 2006 and Kevin Durant in 2007, who were both chosen second overall.

“We’re very excited for Tristan,” said Texas head coach Rick Barnes. “I’m not sure we’ve seen a player improve so quickly once he came to campus. Tristan is a wonderful person and Cleveland is getting a special individual who will work hard every day.”

The Cavaliers finished second-to-last in the 2010-11 season with a final record of 19-63.

Thompson will join former high school teammate Samardo Samuels on the Cavalier roster. Samuels and Thomson played together in New Jersey at Saint Benedict’s Prep for a year.

“It’s great, especially having a big brother in the situation that I am in right now,” Thompson said. “Having him be almost like a mentor to me that’s had a year under his belt with the NBA — it’ll just help me a lot.”

The Cleveland basketball community has continually expressed their excitement with Thompson’s constant energy on the court and his ability to make game-changing plays. Thompson, who considered staying at Texas another year, is equally pleased with his future with the Cavs.

“Everyone here is upbeat and likes when we run,” Thompson said. “Look at me on the court — I’m like a relentless bulldog. I think we are going to go hand-in-hand like a perfect marriage.”