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Big 12 media days men's notebook: OSU's Bryce Thompson still has a fan in KU's Bill Self
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BIG 12 MEN’S BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK

Big 12 media days men's notebook: OSU's Bryce Thompson still has a fan in KU's Bill Self

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Self still a fan of OSU’s Thompson

Kansas coach Bill Self won a big recruiting battle to get Bryce Thompson to play for his program.

After one season, the Booker T. Washington graduate departed the Jayhawks and has found a new home at Oklahoma State.

Relationships are important to many college basketball coaches, and Self has a longstanding one with the Thompson family. Rod Thompson, Bryce’s father, played for Self at Tulsa.

Are there any hard feelings between Self and the Thompsons?

“I’ve got no problems with them. I want Bryce to go kill it. I just don’t want him to kill it at our expense,” Self said Wednesday at Big 12 men’s basketball media day in Kansas City, Missouri. “But I’ve got no issues with that.”

Obanor’s new home

Kevin Obanor was a key part of Oral Roberts’ run to the Sweet 16 last season before choosing to enter the transfer portal.

The 6-foot-8 senior forward now has a new home at Texas Tech, where he’s expected to make an immediate impact.

“Kevin obviously has a great resume,” Red Raiders coach Mark Adams said, adding that Obanor had three double-doubles for ORU in the NCAA Tournament. “A proven player, a great 3-point shooter, excellent offensive rebounder.”

Adams took over the Tech program after Chris Beard departed for Texas. A Texas Tech alum, he said this was a dream job.

He also had to get to work quickly. He had 45 days to “put together a whole new staff, recruit my old players, then fill the roster, bring in nine new guys. It’s been a whirlwind.”

Obanor was an important player to bring to Lubbock.

“We’re really excited about what he adds to our team. But to have a big guy that can shoot like he does, opens up the floor, is special. He has shown a lot of leadership,” Adams said.

Beard prepared for road games

Earlier this week, Chris Beard called preseason rankings “rat poison”, and Texas’s first-year head coach shared a similar sentiment Wednesday when asked about his the Longhorns’ place at No. 5 in the AP Top 25 poll.

“It’s going to sound a little bit coaching cliché, but it’s just true: I really spend zero time — zero — concentrating on anything like that,” Beard said.

Though the former Texas Tech coach is tempering the noise around his program ahead of his debut season in Austin, Beard knows he and the Longhorns will hear plenty of it on the road in 2021-22.

“I think this year with the coaching change, the move to the SEC at some point, is there going to be some extra stuff? Yes.” he said.

Hostile crowds await Texas and Oklahoma in the wake of their planned departures from the Big 12, a reality that Beard is already preparing his players for.

“If you’re trying to be in the fight, then you have to understand that you’re going to have to overcome a lot of adversity. I think this year there will be some adversity on the road now doubt.”

New take on traveling rules

A looser interpretation on traveling is coming to men’s basketball during the 2021-22 season based on new rulings approved by the NCAA men’s basketball rules committee.

“Three plays in the past that have been semi-controversial — Euro step, the step back and the spin move — have now got an approved ruling written that basically says they’re legal,” said Curtis Shaw, the Big 12’s coordinator of men’s basketball officials.

“You’re going to see plays this year that you’re going to say that’s a travel. Technically by rule it is. But they’re going to allow them to happen.”

The new take on traveling rules is the most significant change to officiating that Shaw outlined for this coming season during his question-and-answer session. According to the Shaw, officials in 2021-22 will “err on the side of letting the player do it” on plays in which there is “gray area” in regards to a travel.

He explained that the eased rules are an adjustment to the styles of modern players and the way they play the game, and predicted higher-scoring games as a result of the rule-shift.

“I think it’s going to make it very hard on our teams to play defense,” Shaw said. “... you will have plays that can be made legally that have never been allowed before.”

— Eric Bailey and Eli Lederman, Tulsa World

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OSU Sports Writer

I cover Oklahoma State athletics for the Tulsa World. I have previously worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Emporia Gazette in Kansas and the Columbia Missourian. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2020 and am a native of Mamaroneck, NY.

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