After weeks and months of contemplating his basketball future, Booker T. Washington star guard Bryce Thompson had finally made up his mind where he was he was going to go to college.
The 2019 Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year had narrowed his choices to Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. After informing his family that he wanted to play for Kansas, it was time to call Jayhawk head coach Bill Self and give him the good news.
Rather than tell him right away, Bryce’s father, Rod, convinced him to play a little joke on the coach first.
The elder Thompson played for Self at the University of Tulsa in the 1990s and the two have enjoyed a close relationship ever since. He told Bryce to act like he was calling to say he wasn’t coming to Kansas.
“I told Coach Self, ‘It’s going to be really tough,” said Rod, “but I want Bryce to be the one to call you.’ So that kind of made him think he might not be coming.”
“Bryce called Coach Self and said, ‘Coach, I just wanted to let you know that, uh, (pause) I appreciate you showing us great hospitality, and (pause) I just wanted to say thank you and (long pause), I want to be a Jayhawk, coach.'”
“And Bill Self lost his mind,” said Rod laughing hysterically. “He said, ‘I’m going to kill your dad.'”
“I didn’t really want to play with Coach but the relationship that Coach and my dad has, it was all right” said Bryce with a laugh. “It was really funny, making it seem like I’m not going and finally breaking it to him. He was so excited. It made me feel good knowing that he wanted me that bad. It was good to get a little laugh out of it too.”
Thompson hopes that Self doesn’t make him do extra sprints after he arrives on campus as punishment for his prank.
“Maybe,” said Bryce laughing. “I might get some payback for that.”
Watch the Ford Game of the Week: Booker T. Washington vs. Union high school basketball doubleheader – Tuesday, January 28th starting at 6:30 pm CT on YurView OK (Cox Ch. 3) and streaming on yurview.com.
Seeing the relationship his dad and Self have maintained over the years only solidified his choice to play for him too. In fact, Bryce and Rod will be the first-ever father-son tandem to ever play for Coach Self.
“I always tell Bryce, wherever you go to school you’ll be connected to that coach for the rest of your life,” said Thompson.
Along with his long-term relationship with Self, Thompson has another connection to the University of Kansas. His maternal grandfather, Marshall Rogers, played one season for the Jayhawks in 1972-73 before transferring to Texas-Pan American and leading the nation in the scoring. Rogers went on to play one season for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
“It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders,” admitted Thompson. “Now I’m just able to play basketball. I’m able to do what I do without having to worry about coaches coming to practice or games. I can just relax and play basketball.”
There’s only a few weeks left in Thompson’s high school basketball career and he’s grateful to play at such a tradition-rich school like Booker T. Washington.
“I take a lot of pride in going to Booker T,” said Thompson. “I know there’s been tons of great players that came before me, not only in basketball but football and all the other sports. I’m just trying to carry on the tradition of Hornet pride.”
Thompson and the Hornets return to the court January 28th when they visit the Union Redskins in a great high school hoops showdown live on YurView, Cox Channel 3, starting at 6:30pm. This Ford Game of the Week will also be streamed live on Yurview.com.