5-star guard Bryce Thompson the latest recruit to show faith in Kansas despite looming NCAA allegations
On Tuesday morning, new Kansas commitment Bryce Thompson became the latest member of the 2020 recruiting class to show that the NCAA allegations surrounding the Kansas men’s basketball program did not bother him.
Following in the footsteps of recent KU commitments Gethro Muscadin and Tyon Grant-Foster, who both told the Journal-World they were not worried about the future of the program and trusted KU coach Bill Self and the coaching staff to take care of things before they arrived, Thompson essentially said the same on Tuesday.
In an article he dictated to Tulsa World reporter Eric Bailey, Thompson shared his thoughts on KU's current clash with the NCAA.
“I am aware of the controversy currently surrounding Kansas,” Thompson wrote. “It did concern me a bit at the beginning until I went on my visit and I was able to talk face-to-face with some of the administration, including Athletic Director Jeff Long.”
Thompson said his parents also played a key role in finding out as much as they could about the NCAA allegations.
“My mom doesn’t play,” Thompson wrote. “She asked every question in the book. Mr. Long was able to answer them directly and stayed on point. He didn’t veer off into some other conversation. I appreciated that.”
Thompson added: “I leaned on my parents when coming to this decision. As former college athletes, they’ve been through the recruiting process and I trust them to highlight areas I may have missed. We took most visits as a family and debriefed after each one. I’m grateful to have my family to lean on through this process. They know my goals and are committed to helping me position myself to achieve them.”
With KU now more than 50 days out from receiving a notice of allegations from the NCAA for its role in the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting, not much has been cleared up nor has there been much movement in the process. Typically, a school has 90 days from the time it receives an NOA to respond and the NCAA then has 60 days to respond to that before a hearing is scheduled and conducted.
However, the NCAA several weeks back suspended the 90-day deadline for a response, bringing further uncertainty to the exact time table Kansas is facing.
Although he has refrained from discussing the details of the case, KU coach Bill Self has said repeatedly that he looks forward to KU getting to tell its side of the story to the NCAA in defense of the allegations.
With that kind of cloud hanging over the program, many believed it would have a negative impact on KU’s recruiting efforts until a final ruling is handed out. And while Self said last month that he knew of a couple of instances where the FBI case and KU’s involvement cost the Jayhawks recruits, the situation appears to be having much less of an impact on future recruiting classes.
Thompson’s commitment is by far the biggest indicator of that. The five-star guard who is ranked No. 19 in the 2020 recruiting class by Rivals.com and 247 Sports could have gone to North Carolina, Michigan State, Texas and several other programs. Or he could have stayed close to home and attended Oklahoma or Oklahoma State like recent Oklahoma prospect Trae Young did.
Instead, he chose the school that he called the best fit for him and never looked back.
“I couldn’t have gone wrong with any of my finalists: Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and North Carolina,” Thompson wrote. “Each has a great staff and skilled players. I’ve often been told that I have great options. I agree, and it’s something that I don’t take for granted. I’m appreciative for all the college coaches who invested their time in me during this recruiting process.”
While several great ones came calling, including Lon Kruger at OU and Roy Williams at UNC, it was Thompson’s connection to Self that put Kansas over the top.
“Coach Self is the type of coach I want to play for,” he wrote. “Coach Self coached my dad at Tulsa. That means a lot. Their relationship has remained strong since my dad graduated in 1998. As one of coach Self’s players, my dad knows coach Self's level of expectation and the intensity he requires each time players take the floor.
“It’s Kansas. It’s a great, storied program with a Hall of Fame coach. I built a relationship with the coaching staff over a long period of time during my recruiting process. I enjoyed my time with the players while on my official visit. I like their uptempo style of play and hope to contribute as a freshman.”