Kansas basketball recruiting: Five-star guard Bryce Thompson, No. 19 recruit in nation, commits to Jayhawks

TULSA, Okla. -- Five-star Class of 2020 guard Bryce Thompson made his college commitment to the Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday morning. Thompson, the No. 19 prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings and the No. 1 player in the state, made the commitment in a ceremony at Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School live on CBS Sports HQ over a final list of schools that included two in-state programs -- Oklahoma State and Oklahoma -- as well as North Carolina.

Despite being hit with some serious allegation violations from the NCAA less than two months ago, Thompson's pledge represents a momentous month for Kansas. He's the third Class of 2020 pledge over the last 30 days, and to this point, the biggest prize of the class. Further, he represents not just the biggest incoming recruit but also hope that KU -- even with the NCAA cloud hanging over the program -- may still be able to recruit the way KU always does. For Thompson, he says the decision was easy.

"It's Kansas," he said. "They have a great tradition, history of winning, that's something I'd like to be a part of, and something I'd like to add to."

Even with looming NCAA sanctions, Kansas won out because of its relationships. His father, Rod, played for Bill Self at Tulsa in the 1990s, and that kinship played an important role in Self ensuring he'd again have the opportunity to coach another Thompson star.

"We talked about it," Thompson told CBS Sports of NCAA scrutiny surrounding the basketball program. "We addressed it. I trust Coach Self and he's made it clear to me. They told me to trust them. My parents know [Self], they know he's a good guy, he wants me to do the right thing and be on the right path. I trust him in that manner and I'm good with my decision."

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Bryce Thompson tales with Evan Daniels on CBS Sports HQ about his commitment to Kansas. Kyle Boone / CBS Sports

The deeply formed relationships between the Thompsons and Kansas proved to be even more impossible to overcome than many other staffs recruiting Thompson once thought. Oklahoma State was the first to offer Thompson a scholarship in 2017 and laid out a full push for years, but fell shy despite offering a pairing with five-star guard Cade Cunningham. Oklahoma was similarly staunch in its pursuit, even hiring long-time family friend Pooh Williamson to its staff this summer, but no dice. And North Carolina recently landed five-star guard Caleb Love in hopes of pairing him with Thompson, but alas, Thompson's opting to stay closer to home.

"It was an extremely tough decision," Thompson said. "You build up those relationships over those years, and I visited OSU and OU more than I visited any of those other schools. They did a great job recruiting me, hats off to them, but in the end I had to make a different decision."

Kansas offered Thompson a scholarship last April just before he exploded onto the scene as a junior, but it did not exert the same effort as Oklahoma State and Oklahoma -- at least not until late in the game. This spring, the Jayhawks stepped up their effort and steadied their eyes on making him a priority. After an official visit to KU back in October, an unofficial visit to KU on Friday night, and a home visit from Self himself over the weekend, the Jayhawks sealed the deal.

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