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Thompson named CCC scholar athlete of year

LA GRANDE — One of the most accomplished men's basketball players in Southern Oregon University history received some hardware for the road Wednesday, as Eric Thompson was named the Cascade Conference Male Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Thompson is the first Raider student-athlete to earn the award, which has been around since 2007-08 and is voted on by the athletic directors of the CCC.

A senior from Roseburg, Thompson attained a bachelor's degree in three years with a 3.57 grade-point average and is set to complete the one-year SOU master's of arts in teaching program in the coming days with a 3.93 GPA. In March he was voted onto the Academic All-American second team along with teammate Tim Weber, another graduate student, and was a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete for the second time.

On the court, the 6-foot-8 forward established SOU career records for points scored (2,465) and 3-pointers made (283) while landing at No. 3 on the career rebounding list (950). He averaged team-highs of 19.2 points on 51-percent shooting and 7.4 rebounds this season to receive NAIA All-American honorable mention for the third time — he was a second-team All-American in 2013-14 — and become SOU's first four-time All-CCC selection. After helping the Raiders reach the NAIA quarterfinals for the second time in program history, he and Weber represented SOU at the NABC-NAIA All-Star Game in Kansas City, Mo.

Thompson scored in double figures 129 times during his career, and he and Weber will leave SOU with 90 wins — more than any other players in program history.

"SOU provided a familial environment which allowed me to grow personally, academically and athletically," Thompson said. "I will always be grateful for the friends, teammates, coaches and professors who were a part of my journey here. I wouldn't trade my experience at SOU for anything."

Thompson graduated from Roseburg High in 2006 and committed to SOU before he was taken in the Major League Baseball draft. He spent four seasons as a pitcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and joined the Raiders in 2011.

College of Idaho's Aleah Lowber, a women's basketball player, was voted the CCC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year.