Bryce Thompson has two distinctive memories of his childhood basketball career: his workouts as a 5-year-old with Marco Harris, the current director of player development for Mizzou basketball … and his dad’s stories about playing for Kansas coach Bill Self.
Self heavily recruited Thompson’s father, Rod Thompson, when the current Kansas coach was starting his career at Oral Roberts. Rod Thompson chose Tulsa and spent his final college years under Self when Self moved across town to coach the Golden Hurricane.
Harris got his start in coaching alongside Rod Thompson as both an assistant at Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Okla., where Bryce currently plays, and on Oklahoma Run PWP, an AAU team that the elder Thompson helped start. Bryce currently plays for his father’s AAU team.
Now both programs — Kansas and Missouri — are heavily recruiting the younger Thompson.
The 6-foot-5 guard visited both KU and MU last summer and has emerged as a top-40 recruit on the Under Armour circuit.
Though he hasn’t yet secured a scholarship offer from Mizzou, Thompson does have offers from Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oklahoma State, TCU and KU.
A prospect in the 2020 class, Thompson first emerged as a shooting guard last summer but has since caught coaches’ eyes as a potential point guard. He said his ability to lead teams as a point guard changed coaches’ opinions of him.
“I want to be able to lead the team, be able to dish, shoot, whatever my team needs me to do,” Thompson said. “I want to be multi-dimensional.”
Multi-dimensional can be interpreted as another phrase for “positionless,” which Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin has mentioned multiple times in recent months when explaining his vision for the Tigers.
Thompson said he was impressed with Martin’s ability to lead Missouri to the NCAA Tournament despite the fact that Michael Porter Jr. missed most of his lone season with the Tigers.
“That’s big-time,” he said. “I didn’t know if they could do it. They lost him early and they were still able to make a run.”
Despite not holding an offer from Missouri, Thompson has heard from Martin every day, even on a national holiday.
“They’re working,” Thompson said of the Tigers. “It was Fourth of July and he sent me a picture of him watching some NBA defenses. It shows his work ethic.”
Kansas is squarely in the picture, too.
Jayhawks assistant Jerrance Howard watched Thompson’s game on Thursday against the Wisconsin Playground Warriors, and Self has kept in touch with Rod Thompson for years, long before his son became a prospect.
The younger Thompson said his father told him a lot about Self when he was a kid, from his practice habits to his conditioning philosophies.
While Missouri impressed the guard for its ability to make the NCAA Tournament without its star player, he was equally impressed with Kansas for its Final Four run with a very thin roster.
“They made it far,” Thompson said. “Villanova came out and they just couldn’t miss. It was one of those days. They had a great run this year.”
Thompson is unsure of the next step in his recruitment. For now, he’s just taking the process one step at a time.