Bryce Thompon officially brushes up on Razorback history

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Bryce Thompson, Scotty Thurman
Bryce Thompson, Scotty Thurman

— While Tulsa Booker T. Washington star Bryce Thompson is slowed on the basketball court right now due to a broken bone in his hand, his eyes are working just fine.

Thompson (6-5, 170), a top-45 player nationally per ESPN, and his parents took an official visit to Arkansas this weekend and got a chance to experience all the school has to offer.

“I had a very good time at Arkansas,” Thompson said. “I believe I bonded really well with the teammates. They are all very funny and I like the coaching staff a lot.”

Thompson, who averaged 15.9 points last season for a team that advanced to the Class 5A state title game, got a chance to see an Arkansas team that has nine new faces play its Red-White game Friday night.

“I really liked what I saw,” noted Thompson, who has been on several unofficial visits to Fayetteville. “…They have a lot of good pieces and if I decide to come to Arkansas, I think I would fit right in and be another asset.”

Thompson was not aware that Arkansas assistant coach Scotty Thurman had once hit a shot to down Duke in the 1994 national title game and that the program was at the top of the college basketball world back then.

“They have a history of winning,” Thompson said. “i didn’t know that Coach Thurman hit the national championship shot at the very end to win it all. I also got to see the banners of all the Final Fours they have gone to and the success the program has had over the years.”

He took the visit along with his dad Rod and mom, Goldie, whose dad used to play for the Golden State Warriors.

Rod Thompson, who coaches Bryce for the Oklahoma RUN PWP AAU organization and was in former Razorbacks star Lee Mayberry’s wedding, was pleased with the trip as well.

“I always tell parents that the great thing about going on an official visit is that you really get to bond and see the coaching staff,” Coach Thompson said. “I feel like I know those guys and I know a little bit more of the history than Bryce did because I got to see it myself.

“You get to see the players in a different setting and coaches in a different setting as far as off the court. I was really, really impressed.”

Thompson and Anderson both played at Tulsa.

“What’s great is you get to see the players and coaches out of their element and that is something that I think we look for,” Thompson said, “because when you are taking your kid and dropping them off, you are playing basketball, but there is much more to it that factors into making a decision.

“My wife was able to see that and Bryce was able to see what it is like when they are not just coaching and playing basketball. At Arkansas, it is unbelievable and there are just great, great people there and my wife and I were really impressed.”

Thompson is former AAU teamates with current Razorbacks freshman guard Keyshawn Embery-Simpson.

"Keyshawn loves it at Arkansas," Thompson said. "He absolutely loves it and wants me to come over there as well."

The younger Thompson has now taken official visits to Colorado, Texas A&M and Arkansas while also using an unofficial visit to Kansas, whose head coach Bill Self coached the older Thompson when he played his senior season at Oral Roberts University after transferring.

“I think we will probably review it,” Coach Thompson said of other visits. “We will see how his hand is doing and look at his schedule. We will probably take two more if the schedule permits to try and get a lot of the process over with. But we don’t know where yet.”

Washington has lost in the state championship the past two seasons, but Thompson feels like this is the year.

“We have a really good team coming back,” Thompson said. “We lost a couple of players … but we had a move-in that’s a big guy.

“We have a really good team. I think we are picked to win it all. We have got really close the last few years to winning the state championship, so maybe now we can finish it off and get a ring.”

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