Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Kansas freshman Bryce Thompson the latest Jayhawk to enter transfer portal

Kansas guard Bryce Thompson (24) pulls up for a shot in the paint during the first half, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Bryce Thompson (24) pulls up for a shot in the paint during the first half, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas freshman Bryce Thompson on Tuesday became the latest and biggest now-former Jayhawk to announce his intention to enter the transfer portal.

A former five-star prospect out of Tulsa, Okla., Thompson was the gem of KU’s 2020 recruiting class. But his freshman season at Kansas was plagued by injuries and he never found the kind of rhythm that Kansas coach Bill Self said he believed he would have without the injuries.

In addition to a back injury that kept him out for a few weeks, Thompson broke his right index finger in his first game back from the back injury.

As a result, Thompson appeared in just 20 games for the Jayhawks during the 2020-21 season, averaging 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 17.1 minutes per game.

Thompson announced the news himself on Twitter, shortly after the release of a report from Eric Bossi of 247 Sports.

“While it was a difficult year for many reasons, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to play at the University of Kansas,” Thompson said in his tweet. “Thanks to coach Self and his staff, the doctors, trainers, my teammates and the fans for your support all season long.”

A source close to the situation told the Journal-World on Tuesday morning that Thompson was headed to Tulsa, but his next stop remains to be revealed.

The 6-foot-5, 188-pound combo guard from Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, chose Kansas over finalists Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and North Carolina.

“After talking to his family, Bryce let us that he was going to enter the transfer portal,” Self said in a news release on Tuesday afternoon. “I know Bryce had a tough freshman season with injuries, but I enjoyed coaching him this year through the ups and downs. We wish nothing but the best for the entire Thompson family moving forward.”

Thompson becomes the fifth player from KU’s 2020-21 roster to enter the transfer portal this offseason. And when you combine that with the decisions by Ochai Agbaji and Jalen Wilson to test their NBA draft stock and the likely departure of senior guard Marcus Garrett, KU could be facing the return of just four scholarship players from its 2020-21 roster — Christian Braun, David McCormack, Dajuan Harris and Mitch Lightfoot.

Self and his coaching staff already have added reinforcements. Four of them are expected to sign with the Jayhawks this week and two others — Class of 2021 prospects K.J. Adams and Zach Clemence — signed with the Jayhawks last November.

In addition to those six, the Jayhawks remain in the mix for a few prospects of their own, most notably prep guard Ty Ty Washington and Creighton transfer Christian Bishop.

KU currently has two open scholarships with Thompson's departure and could have more if either Agbaji or Wilson stay in the draft. Both players have until July to make a decision about their futures.

None by Bryce Thompson👑


Tim Orel 1 year, 2 months ago

This one is especially going to hurt. I think, too, that this is particularly ill-advised. But, people are allowed to change their minds without asking my opinion. I can't believe that Tulsa would provide better coaching, facilities or education than KU, but maybe he has more friends there from high school?

Keith Gellar 1 year, 2 months ago

Education probably. For anyone thinking KU provides top notch education needs to take a second look. We may have a good Med program, but the remain are less desired for. Have you ever look at engineering??? its a joke. I have friends from KSU who would take summer classes at KU engg because it was a guaranteed A.

Mike Morris 1 year, 2 months ago

It must have changed since I graduated in '94. I've had a pretty successful engineering career, so it's a bummer if it's gone downhill like you say.

Patrick Leiker 1 year, 2 months ago

What engineering programs are you talking about? I have hired computer science/software engineers out of both schools. The KU grads have been top performers.

RJ King 1 year, 2 months ago

Thompson is a Communications Studies major. I doubt that education had much to do with his decision to switch to Tulsa. You'll have to find another way to denigrate the program or university.

Joey Meyer 1 year, 2 months ago

Yeah that's not at all true.

When we hired in that area we preferred Jayhawk grads over KSU. Most (if not all) of the KU Engineering graduates I know continue to do extremely well for themselves.

Also, not that school rankings matter, but KU/KSU engineering rankings are typically a wash if one is not slightly above the other (

Jesse Johnson 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey Matt. You are always mentioning Ty Ty Washington as a guard we are going after. What about Jaden Hardy? He's an uncommitted guard that is currently ranked #2 on Rivals and they have Kansas listed as a school that is recruiting him and has offered him a scholarship. Is there any chance we land him?

Rae Bricil 1 year, 2 months ago

didn't see this one coming...i thought he would be a key contributor next year.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 2 months ago

Thank you for making room on the team. We do need more player's who will actually help us win.

Kit Duncan 1 year, 2 months ago

Rodney, your remark is ill informed at best and snarky at worst. A healthy Bryce Thompson would be an excellent contributor to a successful campaign next season. He never got going this season, but when he did, Bryce showed some real skills.

This is NOT good news for Kansas! I believe that true KU fans would welcome Bryce back should he decide to withdraw from the transfer portal.

Keith Gellar 1 year, 2 months ago

Agreed! Big loss if he goes through with this.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 2 months ago

kit, lets give the kid credit, he could not cut here, he gave up, he enters the portal, move on. We do need more players who will help us win, right? It was not ill informed it was facing a fact, and then stating a fact. good news, snarky? quit reading so much into a simple post. I agree with Matt below, we are in a new era, lets get a roster set and then see where we stand. Instead of playing make believe and wish upon a star about someone who wants to leave the program, lets root for those that want to be here for a change. (my late best friends nickname was Snark. truthfully Thank You for reminding me about him. he was 10 times better than either of us, and he would still be on the ground laughing about me being called snarky if he was here). :) RIP (s)dj II

Glen Miller 1 year, 2 months ago

What the hell is going on with our basketball program? We used to be a place where the top talent wanted to be. When you lose out on a kid to Tulsa (I know he's from there, but still) that's just not a good look for our program. I thought he would be a big contributor next season for us. Enaruna, Muscadine and Jossell I could understand, not much playing time...... but this one baffles me. The timing of the mass exodus seems odd when Self just inked a lifetime contract.

Matt Tait 1 year, 2 months ago

Couple of things....

  1. Tulsa is far from confirmed. Just passing along what I heard from a pretty good source. He certainly could land at a different/bigger school.

  2. While the high volume of players leaving seems a little crazy, it's not as if it's making KU worse. In fact, I'd argue that the roster is better today than it was when the season ended... And that's especially true if Agbaji and Wilson return and/or if KU can get commitments from TyTy Washington and Christian Bishop.

  3. It'll take some getting used to, but this very well could be the dawn of a new era of college hoops. As long as the rules allow for transfers and kids don't have to sit out before they play again, lots and lots of players are going to continue to look for other places to play. While that will mean losing some players year in and year out, it also will mean adding some players. In the end, it could all cancel out and be a wash or programs like Kansas and other blue bloods could benefit big time. Yesufu, the Drake transfer, is a perfect example of KU coming out ahead. There's not a program out there that wouldn't have "traded" Jossell for Yesufu.

Let it all shake out and evaluate the roster when it's all done. I think you'll like what you see.

Glen Miller 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm not concerned about what the roster looks like necessarily. I don't disagree that we are probably a better team now than we were. My concern is that a kid who Self really went after and who had a bright future here is now gone after just 1 season. I think more than anything I am just an old fuddy duddy and I don't like this "free agency" transfer portal that has taken over college basketball. The game just isn't as pure as it was and kids just don't have any loyalty anymore. That bothers me. A man's word is really all he has and that doesn't mean anything anymore. Thanks for being objective though, Matt. You have valid points and with HCBS we are always going to be fine.

Matt Tait 1 year, 2 months ago

Fair enough. I totally get your perspective. Just wanted to point out that, in the big picture, most of these guys who left will be largely forgotten and the guys KU replaces them with will be players Kansas fans really enjoy watching.

But, yeah, there's a lot to wrestle with when it comes to accepting the transfer portal as a regular part of college basketball these days.

Adam Bengtson 1 year, 2 months ago

Too much competition apparently coming in for him. So does what every current man in this generation does....runs.

Eric Brunner 1 year, 2 months ago

Ok earning a Div I scholarship he's already achieved more than most have in any generation. Are you in the top 1% of your field? I doubt it

Brett McCabe 1 year, 2 months ago

Rodney, that was funny.

To me, the most obvious reasons are that he had a rough year and is looking at KU being on probation and possibly banned from the tourney next season.

It worked out very well for Grimes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land at Houston. But maybe he just needs to be close to home. But boy, this one really bites.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 2 months ago

With the anticipation that the NCAA will approve a one-time opportunity for all transfers being immediately eligible at their new schools without need to sit out a year, I suspect some of those players who are not 100% sure they're in the best place for them will choose to transfer now rather than wait to decide later, when they would have to sit out a year. Of course, they may find their new school is not the greener grass they had hoped to find.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 2 months ago

WTF?! Are we going to have any players left at this rate? Maybe they suspect that the NCAA is about to throw the book at us? In any case, I see 2021-22 looking like a rougher year for KU than 2020-21 was.

Matt Gauntt 1 year, 2 months ago

Thanks for always providing the least useful comment on every single story.

Bob Zielinski 1 year, 2 months ago

What?!!? Why? Bryce was good, he was going to be a big contributor. Can't help a back injury and a broken finger. I really liked his game. Good defense and he was not scared to take shots. Bummer.

Keith Gellar 1 year, 2 months ago

Clearly these kids do not trust or have faith in Self anymore. Facilities, education, schollies aside - playing for Bill Self was the coveted prize. Seems like that's no longer the case.

As much as i hate to believe it - but with the recent events - seems like hammer is about to fall and everyone's jumping ship.

Joe Black 1 year, 2 months ago

That has nothing to do with what is happening at KU. Three of the transfers are leaving because they are very good and would have trouble getting any playing time. Bryce Thompson had a bright future at KU but he wasn't the elite talent they made him out to be. He would need to stay fours years to work hard to get to that level.

Joe Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

I remember the "good ol' days" when fans complained about how the OAD rule was ruining continuity/cohesion/chemistry, though in reality it was never relevant to more than one player in a single season.

This transfer portal must be twisting their transitors, and roasting their rheostats!

Chad Smith 1 year, 2 months ago

It is weird, but the transfer rules are what is driving all this stuff. KU has at least 4 more guys coming in via transfer/juco and recruiting and two other guys that are already signed. That's 6 new faces, 3 of which are transfers and ready to play right away with the possibility of another transfer (Bishop) coming in as well to make it 7 and 4 transfers looking for playing time.

I still feel like Bryce would have a significant role on the team, but based on how everything is playing out, people are ready to fill the role. It stinks, but the idea of a guy staying and playing 4 years just doesn't happen all that often anymore. Which is why we should appreciate guys like Garrett, Graham, Mason, Ellis, etc.

Bob Zielinski 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't see why Bishop would be an option for KU. He was good at Creighton, shot a great FG% but he only scores around the rim. He is not tall enough or big enough to play inside and he is not a good shooter from outside of 6 feet. Think about Azubuike taking 12 foot jumpers, didn't ever see it happen because he was an around the rim rebounder and scorer. Bishop won't be able to play much inside and he's not a shooter. Plus, he'll probably get turned over quite a bit trying to dribble drive to the rim. He fit at Creighton, he doesn't seem to be a fit for KU at all.

Mallory Briggans 1 year, 2 months ago

If someone was to tell you the Jayhawks had 4 one and dones on this past years basketball team you would think that that was enough talent to win a national championship.....but in this case one and done had a different meaning. One and gone would be a better term for the players that left . This team has become more of a puzzle than a program ,trying to fit pieces together to make things work. Jossell ,Grant-Foster ,and Muscadin reasons were obvious ..... no playing time , however Thompson had a bright future ,only injuries dampened his freshman year.....there is always more below the surface but this is a head scratcher. Does next years team have the making of a national contender ......absolutely provided all the pieces stop moving long enough to be put into place. But at some point the bleeding has to stop in order to assemble a team that gels .......with players with a common goal winning the BIG 12 and contending in the tournament....those who stay have that in mind .......those who leave its more about them .

Eric Brunner 1 year, 2 months ago

For all the transfer portal whiners on this thread, you're making a great argument for why college athletes should be treated as employees. The pros have a very simple tool that prevents players from just dipping out whenever they feel like it....LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACTS. The NCAA's incompetence has made almost every athlete an unrestricted free agent. Don't blame the players for exercising their power.

Mike Morris 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm as disappointed as the rest of you on this one. I thought he had a great game for our system. But we don't know what went into this decision. Maybe it didn't really fit for him after all? Maybe he wanted a different role and with the incoming kids, didn't see it happening. Maybe he's homesick. Who knows? I felt the same way about Grimes. I thought he could be a star after another year or so and he was...just not for us. I wish Thompson well. I hope he finds what he's looking for.

Blake Brown 1 year, 2 months ago

OK Matt, I'll stay positive and see how it all "shakes out". 5 transfers and a coach leaves; the 2 who declared most likely will be back. If anybody would declare and leave, I'd think it would be DMac. Lesser talent has left for sure. I kept wating for Enaruna to show up consistently and he just never did. Thompson should have been in the starting 5 next season and a force on both ends. Big loss as I see it. A big factor has to do with those who are familiar with the system and all that goes with it. Few seem to be able to come in and immediately contribute.
So, it should be interesting to see where this all goes and I'm keeping the faith. Rock Chalk!

Shawn Van Ross 1 year, 2 months ago

I see folks complaining about no loyalty/patience from the kids...sure some are leaving on their own accord as I assume Bryce did. However, a great majority of these kids year in/out are "gently" pushed out the door by Bill as well. Lets not forget that part of this game.

Creg Bohrer 1 year, 2 months ago

Kind of sounds like we might be facing some ncaa sanctions. Players are leaving as well as a coach.

Joe Black 1 year, 2 months ago

Try reading what is really going on. All the transfers other than Thompson were not going to get playing time. None of them will be going to Power 5 conference schools. It also appears that neither is Thompson if he truly goes to Tulsa. I am not concerned with losing the pot smoking assistant coach. He has too many coaches to leap over at KU to advance so he went where he thought he could get a better opportunity to be in the second or third chair on the bench. We have replaced all the transfers with better players and have the potential to add two more. That does not sound like panic over NCAA sanctions. The transfer portal rules just make it much easier for guys to move around to situation that they perceive will give them better playing time.

Jerry Walker 1 year, 2 months ago

There won't be any huzzahs from me about Bryce Thompson's career at KU or his basketball future. Nor will he fit the mold of "once a jayhawk...always a jayhawk".

Yeah, I know, there are lots of people dreaming up reasons why he left...and I don't have any idea what the reason is. I do know this...he quit on us. So I won't have any squishy, feel good best wishes for him. He'll be replaced and be nothing more than a fleeting footnote in the history of KU basketball.

Rodney Schulz 1 year, 2 months ago

Like most communications studies majors, he’s just another weak and inpatient unit. It takes some character to hang in for four years in Bill Self’s program, but the results that Self produces are substantial.

Rodney Schulz 1 year, 2 months ago

By the way, if KU’s engineering school is lacking, the rest of the university is a fourth rate kindergarten in comparison to the engineering school.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

First thought was Grimes 2.0.

Bryce will likely excel. We likely will never know the reason. Coach will find quality replacements for all that have left just as he has in the past. Next year’s team will be strong. Again. There will be penalties. Life will go on. The sky won’t fall - completely. KU BB will continue to win.

Greg Bowles 1 year, 2 months ago

Jerry Walker, you saved me a whole lot of typing. That's exactly the way I feel about this. Well said.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm with Matt on this. Clearly last years team had hit a ceiling and I really don't think we would have done any better next year with the same group. I'm all for running a whole new group out next year, which basically rebuilds for the following year. Had we gone into next year with basically the same group, we probably would be no better and maybe worse, so the rebuild needs to start now.

Kit Duncan 1 year, 2 months ago

As much as I hoped Bryce would return and shine on next season's team, it is apparent he would at best be the first guard off the bench and not a starter. If Agbaji & Wilson return (likely), that would leave the next three starters, Christian Braun and Dajuan Harris (or Yesufu), along with David McCormack at center. Thompson would have been a sub for Harris or Braun, except that KU has Yesufu coming in as a seasoned, talented, point guard who might very well challenge Harris for the starting position. In addition, if Self gets Ty Ty Washington to commit, that would pretty much guarantee Thompson would be a sub. He would have to have an impossibly stellar preseason to break into the starting lineup, and that would be unlikely to happen.

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