Class of 2020 5-star guard Bryce Thompson in Lawrence for unofficial visit
photo by: Journal-World Illustration
Now that the Kansas men’s basketball program has figured out a way to fill up its 2019 recruiting class, the KU coaches can spend their time focusing on what comes next.
Although the big-picture answer to that question remains up in the air, the more immediate focus is clear. And it started Thursday, when Kansas welcomed Class of 2020 guard Bryce Thompson to town for an unofficial visit.
Thompson, a 5-star prospect from Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Okla., has long been on the Jayhawks’ radar and is shaping up to be one of the top players in the class.
Ranked No. 18 overall by Rivals.com in the current 2020 rankings — up 22 spots from his previous mark a few months back — the 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard is known as a gifted scorer and playmaker with good size and plenty of versatility to his game.
“Tremendous basketball IQ,” KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott said of Thompson. “He really knows how to control the tempo and set up his teammates, and he can completely control games that he only scores 6 points in because he’s so good at getting others involved and playing to his teammates’ strengths.”
The race to land Thompson will be a battle. After officially visiting Arkansas, Colorado and Texas A&M last fall, Thompson has jumped on the unofficial circuit this summer, with recent stops to Arkansas and North Carolina stamped in his travel log.
Other programs vying for Thompson’s signature include Michigan State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Thompson almost certainly will plan an official visit to KU in the not-too-distant future, and he already has been to town once for an unofficial visit. What he’s looking for this time around is the chance to take his connection to KU to another level.
“I’ll get to talk to (KU coach Bill Self) and I’ll get to talk to the staff more, you know, be more personal with them,” Thompson recently told Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi when looking ahead to his summer visits. “I’ll see what they like about me, tell them what I like about them and just build a relationship.”
One thing worth noting about Thompson’s connection to Kansas is the fact that his father, Rod Thompson, played for Self for one season at Tulsa back in 1997-98.
There is no real known timeline for Thompson’s decision, and Bossi expects his recruitment to take some time.
“He’s pretty dedicated to exploring his options as deeply as possible and schools will wait on him,” Bossi recently wrote. “He scores efficiently, is a big-time passer and is just beginning to mature physically.”
Added Scott: “He’s a legit 6-4 and long, and that size and his length allow him to see over many defenders when initiating offense and rack up steals in passing lanes on the defensive end of the floor.”
Although it remains to be seen how many scholarships the Jayhawks will have available in the 2020 class — Udoka Azubuike, Mitch Lightfoot and grad transfer Isaiah Moss are the only seniors — adding another combo guard with the skills of Thompson is never going to be something the Jayhawks shy away from.
Thompson has the ability to play as a team’s lead guard, off guard or in a combination of those two roles for a program that prefers to have multiple ballhandlers and playmakers on the floor at the same time, like Self has during most of his time at Kansas.
And with Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji likely to explore their pro futures after the 2019-20 season, the need for a player like Thompson quickly could vault to the top of KU’s wish list.