College basketball legend George Thompson dies at 74

George Thompson, widely agreed to be one of the best basketball players in the history of Marquette University, has passed away at the age of 74, ESPN reports

Thompson’s passing was announced on Wednesday by his former team.

“George Thompson, one of the most accomplished players in the history of Marquette men’s basketball, passed away on Wednesday morning due to complications from a long battle with diabetes,” Marquette announced.

Thompson’s legacy

From Brooklyn, New York, Thompson would go on to attend Erasmus Hall High School from which he was recruited by Marquette. He would play on the school’s basketball team from 1966 through 1969, under the renowned coach Al McGuire.

During his time at Marquette, Thompson played 87 games over the course of three seasons. With Thompson on the team, Marquette went 68 and 20.

Thompson averaged 20.4 points during his seasons, which added up to 1,773 points in total. This was the school’s scoring record for over 40 years, and even now it is fourth on the school’s scoring list. In addition to the points, Thompson averaged 7.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists while playing for Marquette.

Thompson would go on to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA), but he did not have the same level of success as he had in the college game. Although being selected by the Boston Celtics in the 5th round of the 1969 NBA Draft, Thompson decided to spend five seasons playing in the ABA before moving on to the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks for a brief stint there.

Thompson, for his college basketball success, has been inducted into Marquette’s Hall of Fame.

“A true legend”

Many are offering tributes to Thompson following the news of his passing. Among them is Shaka Smart, Marquette basketball’s current coach.

“George is really the one who got everything started at Marquette,” Smart said. “There aren’t words that can express how important he was to this program. The reverence with which former players and fans alike speak of George is second to none. We’ve lost a true legend.”

Marquette similarly put out a tweet, saying, “George made a tremendous impact, not only on the program but the entire Milwaukee community after his arrival on campus.”

“RIP Brute Force,” the school added.

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