This is exactly what every young basketball athlete strives for — to be an acclaimed recruit whose possible destinations include options like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas and North Carolina.

Even though his parents had been really good athletes at the University of Tulsa – his mom Goldie as a volleyball player and his father Rod as a basketball point guard – Bryce Thompson did not become a five-star recruit because of favorable genetics.

His basketball development began when he was a fifth-grader, and when he made the commitment that year to get out of bed every morning at 5 o’clock. To be in the gym for an hour of shooting before the start of the school day.

That commitment never wavered. His game blossomed. Now a Booker T. Washington senior guard, Thompson grew to a height of slightly beyond 6-foot-4.

During the last few days, distinguished visitors were seated on the Thompson living-room sofa: Sooners coach Lon Kruger, Cowboys coach Mike Boynton, Jayhawks coach Bill Self and Tar Heels coach Roy Williams.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, in Booker T.’s Nathan E. Harris Fieldhouse, Thompson announces his college choice. The event is streamed on CBS Sports HQ.

It’ll be a huge moment for the Thompson family. For Bryce, there will be unbridled joy along with some discomfort. It won’t be easy to say no to three coaches with whom he has established friendship bonds.

As Thompson nears the finish line of a two-year process, there also is real fatigue.

“I am relieved,” he said. “I look forward to being able to just work out and get ready for the high school season. Not having to answer calls every hour.

“This has been good and a blessing, but I’m glad it’s nearly over.”

Even for a well-conditioned 17-year-old, his schedule has been demanding. In addition to daily school attendance and afternoon practice sessions with the defending Class 6A champion Hornets, Thompson’s recent flurry of appointments included a Bedlam dynamic last Wednesday.

During the day, Kruger and three assistants – including longtime Thompson family friend Pooh Williamson – were in the Thompson home. After the OU coaches concluded their visit, Thompson and his parents and sister Sydney drove to Stillwater and watched the Oral Roberts-OSU game.

Within Gallagher-Iba Arena, there were signs and chants encouraging Thompson to become a Cowboy. Five-star OSU commitment Cade Cunningham used social media to extend a personal invitation for Thompson to join him on the Cowboy roster.

On Friday, the Thompsons were in Lawrence, Kansas, to watch the Jayhawks defeat UNC Greensboro 74-62. For the first time, Bryce witnessed a game at Allen Fieldhouse.

On Saturday, Bryce and the Hornets were in Wichita Falls for the annual Elite 14 scrimmage event involving teams from Texas and Oklahoma.

On Sunday, Self is expected to visit the Thompson home.

“This has definitely been work,” Goldie Thompson said. “A couple of times, I’ve noticed the stress. I told Bryce, ‘You know, we can set some limits. We can set specific dates and times when the coaches can call.’ He’s always said no to that. He says he’s fine, but it never stops.”

When did all of this go from having been fun to having felt heavy?

“It has felt heavy at times,” Goldie said, “but this experience has been so valuable. All of the travel. Getting to observe all of the coaches and programs up close and in their environment.

“This has been a family decision. Because Rod and I were college athletes, we were able to provide some insight.”

On top of everything else, Bryce Thompson is a working man – a weekend employee of a Foot Locker store.

On Aug. 1, Thompson’s Hornet teammate Trey Phipps announced his commitment to OU. The Phipps move resonated with Thompson, who realized that he had arrived at a serious point in his own process.

On Tuesday, the Thompson recruiting experience reaches its zenith. He will have achieved a life-changing goal.

After that, he doesn’t want a party. He just wants a day off.

“Maybe I should do that,” Thompson said. “I think I would just get some extra sleep. That would be amazing.”

Bill Haisten


Twitter: @billhaisten

Sports Columnist

Bill joined the Tulsa World in 1990. Prior to having become a sports columnist in 2016, he was the only sports writer in Tulsa World history to have covered OU, OSU, the University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts sports on an everyday basis. Phone: 918-581-8397