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Aaron Thompson

That, my friends, is Cal State Fullerton guard Aaron Thompson, and if there’s only one thing you take from the picture, it’s this: the man has what they call “mad hops.” Thompson is just one of many small-college players, who, while not playing at one of the bigger, more prestigious schools, has just as much athletic ability as the “big boys” do. While bigger school players like Stanley Robinson, Durrell Summers, and Travis Leslie standout, let us not forget these smaller college players who are every bit as entertaining as their big school counterparts are.

Two players that you should know about are the aforementioned Thompson and Tavaris Washington of Arkansas Pine Bluff. Recently, both have had dunks that, if they were thrown down by a player in a Duke or Texas uniform, ESPN would have it on a 24-hour loop.

First up, Aaron Thompson:

Earlier, I used the phrase “mad hops” to describe Thompson’s ability. I may have undersold him. Next, we have Tavaris Washington, who makes like Vince Carter in Olympic basketball games:

Um, wow. That’s about all I can offer, because anything else would reek of hyperbole and excessive gushing.

While players like Thompson and Washington may not make it to David Stern’s sandbox, they will have plenty of opportunities to earn a comfortable living playing basketball. Hell, one or both of them could be fixtures on the “And 1″ tour, and maybe even the NBDL.

Who knows? Maybe they could take the John Starks route to the NBA. While it’s a road less traveled, it has been known to bear fruit.