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'He is basically my godson': Cason's special relationship with Thompson

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It was a sunny day in LaFortune Park. 

On the 270-acre park located in midtown Tulsa, Tamara Cason and Goldie Thompson met each other. 

The same day, David Cason and Rod Thompson met each other, not at the park, but in the University of Tulsa's basketball complex. 

"We happened to meet each other at the same time," David Cason said. 

Cason was an assistant coach at Tulsa from 2005-2011, and Thompson was an alum and former basketball star for the Golden Hurricanes from 1995-1998. 

A friendship between the families quickly blossomed. Weekends were spent together. The same with holidays. Birthdays and other important events all celebrated with each other. 

"I've know coach Cason for a long time," Thompson said. "He used to coach at Tulsa when I was super young so that relationship started there."

If the Cason's went on a weekend trip, the Thompson's would watch their kids, and vice versa. 

"I have some pictures of Bryce and my kids when they were younger, and I basically raised him," Cason said. "Coach Thompson and his wife raised my kids. (Bryce) is basically my godson."

In 2011, Cason left Tulsa, moving to Nashville, Tennessee to work for Vanderbilt. The Thompson's remained close even after the move. Bryce Thompson was still in elementary school when Cason moved, but the two continued to build a relationship around basketball. 

Cason helped coach Vanderbilt to its first conference championship in 60 years while Thompson slowly improved his talents in middle school. 

After moving to Austin to coach for Texas in 2015, Cason watched as Thompson led Booker T. Washington to back-to-back runner-up finishes as an underclassman. 

Cason went to Florida Gulf Coast after three seasons with Texas, and saw Thompson become a five-star recruit. 

"I felt that Bryce would have a chance to be good because of his dad and how hard he works," Cason said. "The genetics, they are there. I didn't know he would be this good, but I knew that he could be good."

Another move saw Cason join the Florida International basketball staff for three seasons, and he closely followed as Thompson earned back-to-back state titles and Gatorade Oklahoma Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors as a junior and senior. 

After a injury-plagued freshman season at Kansas, Thompson transferred to Oklahoma State, and Cason was offered a job with the Cowboys he couldn't turn down. 

A decade after leaving the state, Cason has reunited with a kid he helped raise. For Thompson, his childhood mentor is now his coach. 

"We have a strong relationship," Cason said. 

sports.ed@ocolly.com