Bryce Thompson May Be OSU’s Biggest-Named Transfer, but He’s Far from the First

May 13, 2021

Former five-star phenom Bryce Thompson is headed to Oklahoma State. Mike Boynton got his guy, at least the second time around.

Thompson, the Tulsa native, picked Kansas over a 2020 OSU class headlined by fellow five-star recruit Cade Cunningham and fellow Oklahoma preps star Rondel Walker. After his freshman season in Lawrence was hampered by injury, Thompson decided to rethink his destination and is now the crown jewel of the Cowboys’ 2021 class.

Based on his ranking coming out of high school, Thompson’s set to be the fifth-highest high school prospect to ever lace them up for the Cowboys, as well as being the top-rated in-state product to don the orange and black.

Thompson is also now the highest-rated transfer the Cowboys have procured since companies started rating prospects — by a wide margin. His 0.9923 247 Composite rating coming out of Booker T. Washington towers over the next highest transfer on the list, three-star big man Igor Ibaka who had a 0.9200 rating coming in back in 2015.

Naysayers will complain about the free agency that college sports has become, but coaches like Boynton are just working within the rules of the system that’s in place, just like his Hall of Fame predecessor did.

Eddie Sutton was a master at folding transfer into his program, giving players a second chance that they often made the most of. Names like Doug Gottlieb, Mario Boggan and Victor Williams come to mind.

And Sutton built his 2004 Final Four team almost exclusively through the transfer market with his top three scorers and four of his five starters originating elsewhere in college hoops.

Tony Allen started off at the junior college level. John Lucas III transferred from Baylor in the wake of the school’s murder scandal. That pair earned Co-Big 12 Player of the Year honors. Joey and Stephen Graham played their first two seasons at UCF, and Daniel Bobik started his career at BYU. All in all, 10 of the 14 members of that 2003-04 roster came to OSU with previous college experience.

Things have changed since Eddie’s days. The transfer portal has become a polarizing talking point for fans and talking heads alike. But like it or not, that’s today’s world of college sports, and Boynton knows how to play the game.

He’s had success with the likes of Kendall Smith and Bryce Williams, and Boynton’s 2021 class is now comprised entirely of transfers as Thompson joins Tyreek Smith and Woody Newton, who started their careers at Texas Tech and Syracuse, respectively.

The portal may be new and the number of transfers are certainly up thanks to NCAA rule changes that give the college athlete — historically a commodity in the big business of “amateur” sports — more freedom, but transfers have been shaping the trajectory of college sports (and specifically OSU hoops) for some time.

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