Historic Marquette basketball player George Thompson passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 74 years old. The Golden Eagles’ program tweeted the news, saying that he died due to complications from diabetes.
Thompson played three seasons for Marquette and scored 1,773 points, which was the program record for 40 years. It has since been passed by Lazar Hayward, Markus Howard and Jerel McNeal. In college, he averaged 20.2 points per game while the team had a combined record of 68-20.
Head coach Shaka Smart said the following in a statement: “George is really the one who got everything started at Marquette. 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.”
“George’s name is synonymous with Marquette basketball,” vice president and director of athletics Bill Scholl added. “He was part of the foundation our program was built on and his career speaks for itself. He had a lasting impact on our university, and we mourn the loss with our entire Marquette family.”
Thompson was selected by the Boston Celtics in the 1969 NBA Draft. But instead, he opted to begin his professional career with the Pittsburgh Pipers of the ABA. He played five years in the ABA – three in Pittsburgh and two with the Memphis Tams – and was a three-time All-Star.
He played the 1973-74 season in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks and averaged 10.7 points per game across 73 contests. In all, Thompson scored 8,114 points in professional basketball. He is a member of the Wisconsin and Marquette Athletic Hall of Fames.
Thompson stayed in the Milwaukee area after his playing career and served as an analyst on Marquette radio broadcasts.