John `Cat' Thompson, the nation's only four-time collegiate All-American basketball player and the third player ever inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, died of a stroke Sunday in eastern Idaho. He was 84.
A native of St. George, Utah, Mr. Thompson was the heart of the Montana State College basketball team that posted a 123-21 record from 1927 to 1930. The 5-foot-10 forward averaged around 17 points per game in a day when most teams averaged 40 points a game.His 274 field goals in the 1928 season remains a school record, and Mr. Thompson is still fourth on the Bobcats' all-time scoring list with 1,539 career points.
Mr. Thompson, named by the Helms Foundation of Los Angeles to its All-time All-American Team, called his 1962 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., "kind of the culmination of the whole show."
He finally visited the Hall of Fame five years ago with his family to see his bust sitting with those of other greats.
Montana State Coach G. Ott Romney give him the nickname "Cat" because of Mr. Thompson's agility on the court.
"That isn't a human being," Romney said. "That's a tree cat."
Funeral services were set for Thursday in Idaho Falls, where Mr. Thompson had lived since 1946.