Oklahoma St. Basketball: Do Cowboys Make Sense for Bryce Thompson?
Bryce Thompson announced that he would enter the transfer portal after completing his freshman year at Kansas. Does OSU make sense for the Tulsa native?
Bryce Thompson, a former five-star recruit from Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington High School, chose Kansas last year from a final four list of schools that included UNC, OU, and OSU. The 6-foot-5 rising sophomore announced yesterday that he would be entering the transfer portal.
Thompson has an array of offensive skills: he can attack off the dribble, he can shoot, and he can create shots. He averaged 4.6 points per game for a talented Kansas team that achieved a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and beat the eventual national champion, Baylor, in the regular season.
It helps that the Cade Cunningham venture succeeded this past season in Stillwater. True, the Cowboys finished 2020-21 on a disappointing note, but Cunningham averaged 20.1 points per game and led OSU to its best season in 17 years while winning a slew of individual awards. And, of course, he’s still projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft.
Therefore, Thompson and his family should be able to see a direct path from a Boynton-led program at OSU to the NBA. Thompson’s parents were both student-athletes at Tulsa, including his father, Rod, who played for Bill Self as a Golden Hurricane.
There are numerous in-state connections to Stillwater, without mentioning the scoring void that’s created by Avery Anderson III’s potential departure. Anderson, the team’s second-leading scorer, declared for the draft without hiring an agent.
Lastly, it’s unreasonable to make the argument that Thompson must have a “bad attitude” or be a head case to want out of Lawrence after only one year. NCAA rules currently allow for the move. More than a thousand other basketball players are taking advantage of the rule this offseason. In most jobs in America (including being a basketball coach), you can freely leave and go to a new place based on your best interests for your future, your family, and your own ambition.
Last year, when Thompson included OSU among his final four choices, It seemed like too much of a stretch for both the five-star recruit and Cunningham to sign up for the Pokes — who at that point had missed the Big Dance three years in a row.
After last season’s positive direction, including the ranked wins, Cunningham’s national exposure, and the Big 12 title game appearance, Thompson becoming a Cowboy instead of a Tar Heel (under a new head coach, too) doesn’t seem so far-fetched.