Editor's note: The 2019 Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards airs Sunday at 7 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Bay Area.
When Jerry DeBusk, then the boys basketball coach at Santa Margarita High School, found out Mychal Thompson's family was moving from Oregon to Orange County, he jokingly said he tried to do a backflip out of joy.
And then he placed Klay Thompson -- who years later became a first-round pick in the NBA draft, then an All-Star and a champion -- on the freshman basketball team.
DeBusk treated Klay, along with his brothers Mychel and Trayce, the same as everyone else, and the Warriors star knows he wouldn't be the player he is now without his high school coach.
"I remember my junior year thinking I'm hot stuff coming off the AAU circuit," Thompson said Wednesday when he honored DeBusk at the 2019 Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards. "I come back to Santa Margarita, and he has us doing jump stops and passing drills and all the most basic stuff you do at YMCA camp. I'm like, 'C'mon Coach, I just wanna hoop.'
"Six years later, I'm playing for Steve Kerr and we're doing the same dang thing. So Coach actually knew something that I didn't. Coach DeBusk was on to something."
Klay had a special message for his high school basketball coach 🙏— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 13, 2019
Coaching Corps Game Changer Awards airs tomorrow at 7pm on NBCS Bay Area 👀 pic.twitter.com/0LRZnd4tR7
Thompson is a three-time NBA champion. First, he was a state champion under DeBusk during his senior season. That same year, a parent had some suggestions for the coach, but it certainly wasn't Klay's father, who just happens to be a two-time champion himself.
"If every parent were like Mychal and Julie, what a peachy job that would be," DeBusk said. "I had a dad call me, and he said, 'I think we should have lunch. I want to talk to you about my son's playing time, and about the offense.' I said, 'Sir, if there's one guy I'm gonna sit down and talk basketball with, it's Mychal Thompson. It's not you.'
"And we were 17-1. The offense was going OK."
Thompson is known for firing 3-pointers from any distance, and nailing them most of the time. It all started, though, with fundamentals from the man who saw stardom in Klay's future.