Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
Arkansas basketball on the list for 5-star guard
A basketball sits in a rack at Bud Walton Arena in this undated photo.
ESPN 5-star basketball guard Bryce Thompson and his father, Rod, wrapped up a successful unofficial visit to the University of Arkansas on Tuesday evening.
The Thompsons have visited Fayetteville several times, including an official visit for the Tulsa football game on Oct. 20, while being recruited by former coach Mike Anderson and staff. Tuesday's trip was the first since the hiring of Eric Musselman as the Razorbacks coach.
Bryce Thompson highlights
"I thought it went good," Rod Thompson said. "Of course, we've seen all of the facilities and everything else. We've been over multiple times, but I was really impressed with Coach Musselman and his staff and the plan they feel like they have for Bryce."
Thompson, 6-5, 170 pounds, of Tulsa Washington has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and others.
Rod Thompson was impressed with an in-depth presentation the coaches shared with him and his son.
"Just the background I think they do and what they've already done with the players that are there, not just basketball wise, academically, the things they like on and off the court," Thompson said. "Then their extensive research on all of the other teams in the league and players. Then really the NBA connections which I think is huge because every kid that gets to this point and playing ball you're probably trying to play to make it to the league, so I was real impressed."
Thompson averaged 25.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting 52% from the field and a sizzling 45% from beyond the three-point line during the spring on the Under Armour circuit for Oklahoma Run PWP, for whom Rod Thompson is the director.
ESPN recently updated their top 100 prospects for the 2020 class and Thompson saw a big jump in his stock by going from a 4-star prospect to a 5-star and the No. 57 rated prospect to No. 25 in the nation.
"Big-time scorer who can knock down open and contested shots from all three levels," said ESPN National Director of Recruiting Paul Biancardi, who rates Thompson the No. 7 shooting guard nationally. "Advanced scorer who is under control with his handle, footwork and scoring touch. An impactful two-way player, Thomson will defend the ball and chase shooters anywhere on the perimeter. One of the most gifted scorers in the class."
Thompson was one of the standouts at the recent prestigious National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp at the University of Virginia. The Thompsons have a longstanding relationship with associate head coach Chris Crutchfield since Bryce was in the second grade and Rod coached Crutchfield's sons in youth basketball.
Musselman and staff noticed Thompson's play in the spring and summer.
"They talked about Bryce, and the way he's played this summer, and what he's been able to do, and his rise and other things they see him improving on which I think that's very impressive because you want to keep growing, and you want to have that continued growth which makes a big difference," Rod Thompson said.
Thompson was named the Oklahoma Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year after leading the Hornets to a 26-2 record and the Class 6A state title after averaging 19.6 points, 5.2 assists, 5 rebounds and 1.1 steals.
Rod Thompson played at Tulsa from 1995-98 and helped lead the Golden Hurricanes to 65 victories in three seasons and to the NCAA Tournament two years. Musselman pointed out several things during the visit, Thompson said.
"He talked about his success on all levels and how he felt the resources and everything were there at Arkansas," Thompson said. "He's excited and he wants to win a national championship and at the same time develop guys and get them to achieve their dreams and how he wants to coach pros."
Previously, recruits were only allowed five expense-paid official visits but now are allowed to take five beginning Aug. 1 before their junior year to the end of that year and take five more as a senior.
He and his son made an unofficial visit to Kansas on Thursday. It appears the Hogs will get an official visit in the fall.
"We already took an official and saw a lot of stuff so we're still debating if we're going to take an official or just come back, but we definitely see ourselves coming back," Rod Thompson said.
He believes his son will narrow his list of schools sometime in July and make a decision and sign in the fall.
"I see him, unless something goes crazy, committing in October and signing in November."
Email Richard Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports on 06/28/2019
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