Thomas Bryant commits to Indiana

  • 04/04/2015 1:31 pm in

Class of 2015 Huntington Prep (W.V.) big man Thomas Bryant committed to Indiana during a live broadcast of the Dick’s National Tournament on ESPN from Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon.

Bryant, a 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-American and a Jordan Brand All-Star, is rated the No. 27 prospect nationally according to the 247Composite.

“I just wanted to come here and be on TV and say that I’m committing to Indiana to play college basketball next year,” Bryant said. “I’m very excited. I’ve been thinking about this long and hard, I’ve been talking it over with my mom and coaches. We just felt like being at Indiana was the best decision for me.”

This is the fifth straight year that Tom Crean has recruited a McDonald’s All-American to Bloomington as Cody Zeller (2011), Yogi Ferrell (2012), Noah Vonleh (2013) and James Blackmon Jr. (2014) preceded Bryant.

A native of Rochester, New York, Bryant also considered Kentucky, Missouri and Syracuse.

Earlier in the week at McDonald’s All-American media day, he told Inside the Hall that being a focal point from day one in Bloomington was a major reason he was considering the Hoosiers.

“If I chose Indiana, being a dominant player, I’d be a key focal point because being there and putting the hard work in and also just having a bunch of shooters around you, they double down and I kick out for an open 3 or if they don’t help down, I could get a bucket down low, also,” he said. “That game with Michigan State, they had heart, they played their hearts outs and the way they lost was just hard. You just know that they fight each and every day.”

Bryant took an official visit to Bloomington last October and followed it up with an unofficial visit for IU’s final regular season home game against Michigan State. He led Huntington Prep to the semifinals of the DICK’s National Tournament and scored 27 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

His commitment brings Indiana’s 2015 recruiting class to three members as Bryant joins Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby.

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  • Gwade8888

    You’ve basically struck the heart of my question. What if the remaining players all said “Sorry, coach. I’m not transferring and I’m not paying my own way. You publicly guaranteed 4-year athletic scholarships, and I’m not going anywhere.” We’d be over signed by one (Bryant) at this point. Just curious. Seems like it’s not that far fetched that this could play out this way one year.

  • Missing Moye

    Ryan Burton and Jeremiah April were 100% from the floor this season – clearly they are Indiana’s top two shooters. The stats don’t lie.

  • hardly

    I think once a player’s name is singled out as needing to transfer he’s between a rock and a hard place. If he doesn’t go, his life could be made very, very, very ugly. No chance of playing time, poor recommendation from coaching staff if he did eventually try to transfer, etc. etc. Obviously that’s me pontificating, but a coach can make a kid’s life miserable (I know, I lived through it because generally I wouldn’t just shut up and deal with the stupid mind games coaches play to prove they’re in charge.) So, most will take the best option and let the school draft the press release and deal with the media and the staff helps find him a new place to play.
    That’s a long way of saying, I don’t think your scenario happens because a kid realizes that when he’s asked to transfer he is better off to do so, otherwise he’s going to have a miserable existence for the balance of his time with the team.

  • hardly

    correct! but it is more than 20%, so my range is accurate. you a purdue graduate by any chance?

  • hardly

    which is my point – do you really think we should be be churning almost 1/4 of the roster every year?

  • Max

    Troy needs to work on being a lock-down defender. Dude can swat shots with the best of him, but you couldn’t rely on him to shut down a scorer.

  • Max

    Agreed – his best hope (for the mid-first round) is a Napier-like run in the tourney.

  • Max

    He can still get more efficient. Improve his non-‘point total’ numbers. Plus a unanimous 1st team B1G, plus say a 3rd team All-American honors would only help.

  • Max

    We already had two on the roster though, so …

  • mark

    Let’s hope he sees it that way. With him, IU is Final Four material (talent wise at least, not sure yet if coaching-wise)

  • Max

    I don’t think PJ had any other offers. It’s a reasonable scenario that when Crean offered the scholly, he explained that Jurkin might not have it all four years. It’s not a bad offer if you don’t have great options, at least it’s a chance.

  • hardly

    yes – agree. if it is all agreed up on and understood up front, that is by far the best way to go. i’m still not a fan of filling the roster with guys that could be shipped out in a year or two.

    With that said:

    Jurkin had offers from South Carolina and Clemson when he committed to Indiana on Aug. 9, 2010. Several other schools, including North Carolina and Tennessee, had expressed interest.

    from a web search

  • thrawnjan

    What part?

  • TomJameson

    Yogi has a lot of reasons to stay. All the records to set, the love he has for IU BB, Coach Crean, and his fellow players, the off-the-wall excitement of a deep tourney run (a chance that he’ll never have again), and finally because he really can expand on his stats and help his draft status.

    IMHO everything about his game can improve. Not in a great way, but incrementally. His shooting percentages can get a little better because you know he’ll always work on that in the offseason, and his assist ratios can get a little better because of the beast in the middle. He can’t make a dramatic improvement because he’s so darned good right now, but he can get a little better.

    As far as the threat of injury is concerned, he can get an insurance policy to cover that contingency.

  • TomJameson

    When making that particular comparison, let us all remember that Frank Kaminsky is a 7′ Senior. LOL

    That said, my mouth drools over the the thought of a player like Bryant staying for 4 years at IU. WOW .. that would be awesome.

  • TomJameson

    I know I’m replying to myself, but I used to be a programmer, and we’re used to talking to ourselves. lol

    I was thinking about all the hopes and expectations of another sweet-16, final-4, B1G title, etc… Of course these expectations are very dependent on a few factors like player development, coaching, defense, injuries, etc…

    But as far as the big dance is concerned, I think if we start out with a decent seed we could possibly look forward to another sweet 16 just because of talent, although anything is possible. Which is why anything past the sweet-16, to me, is mostly hoIping vs expectation. IMHO, luck is more heavily involved past the sweet-16 (ask UK fans – lol).

    So while I have my hopes, that is why I will temper my expectations until I see what the team looks like when their feet hit the court.

  • TomJameson

    Hahaha … just had the thought that nobody will want to take a charge from him twice! lol

  • TomJameson

    That’s why I’ll take the wait and see approach … Thomas could very easily up his game as well. Just don”t know.

  • Gwade8888

    Fairly certain it’s athletic scholarships that all Big 10 schools have publicly stated are guaranteed for 4 years.

  • KmanCRK

    HMP has practiced with Cody Zeller and Vonleh.

  • KmanCRK

    From the clips I’ve seen he seems to run the floor pretty well. I doubt he runs like Cody did, but his contribution will be huge. Seems to have a 3-ball in his bag as well.

  • KmanCRK

    It’s just reality. and the guys don’t have the choice, the scholarships can easily be pulled.

    The two Bigs we recently sent to the pros would argue against your take on bigs. He’s pretty good at coaching them up on the pick and roll and defending it. Just read their quotes.

  • KmanCRK

    you are wrong. When Glass says 4yr scholarships this does not mean 4 year athletic scholarship with a spot on the roster. They will boot you and continue to pay for your schooling if you stay at IU.

  • KmanCRK

    no such guarantee exists.

  • Kyl470

    Making the NCAA tournament and earning a AP poll ranking next to your name isn’t an accomplishment to brag about at IU. The Indy Star article said it best. Does IU want to be the “little engine that could” or be a locomotive. I guess you are ok with being the “little engine that could.”

  • IUMIKE1

    Right, where EH needs to play to avoid having to play out of position. I’m starting to think that those four words have been used so much over the last 2 or 3 years that we could just use the acronym POOP and everybody would know what it stood for and it would describe how a lot of us feel about having to use those four words so much.

  • IUMIKE1

    Have been thinking of you, your dad and my late dad while watching the tournament this year. Hope all is going as well as possible.

  • IUMIKE1

    All that and the streak was broken in the state of Indiana. lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Saw that………loved that !!

  • 214_Hoosier

    If only preseason rankings counted for more than interesting fanfare.

  • IUMIKE1

    The Lee kid is the poster child for the reasons to not go to the big blue cesspool and sit on the bench if you have aspirations of playing at the next level after only a year or two. If he had went somewhere that used him as a featured player, like he could have easily done, he would be declaring for the draft right now, if not having done just that after his first year. One could say that at least he will have that college degree to help him, but something tells me that a degree in above water breathing and / or the study of sign language for years will not open up too many job opportunities for him.

  • IUMIKE1

    Can’t hit the upvote button too many times on that train of thought !! If TW improves his perimeter shot as much as he needs to to be a first rounder there is no reason not to play that lineup. Hell, I don’t really see a reason not to play that kind of lineup even if he doesn’t improve his perimeter shot a whole bunch.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Thomas is an impressive young man but won’t matter if IU doesn’t earn to play DEFENSE!!. and stop the selfish play that they had at times mostly JBJ and TW.

  • Ole Man

    LOL! Awesome acronmym!

  • Ole Man

    Excellent thoughts, Loop.
    They hadn’t occurred to me.
    Just haven’t put April into the picture; but hoping that he does develop.

  • John D Murphy

    I’ve been stalking twitter all day waiting for our next transfer. Thought the announcement would be today. Guess not.

  • William Anderson

    You don’t know the first thing about me, so please don’t assume. CTC is rebuilding this program the correct way, getting players to compete, play and get an education. IU is NOT UK, he is bringing or trying to bring players to play and who also want educated. To many have short memories. If winning a national championship is the only way you are considered good enough to keep your job then 1500 + coaches should be fired every year, or if you dont win your conference you are fired then the number drops a few. John Wooden took 15 years to win his 1st championship. The best news is you like me have ZERO input on IU’s decision. I wonder how many years of coaching do you have to make remarks about a program that as I stated has been competitive for the last 4 years.

  • Eugene Debs

    So, its OK to like Crean again?

  • dwdkc

    From ESPN Scouts’ take:

    Why he committed: Ultimately, Bryant’s decision came down to two schools – Indiana and Syracuse.The Orange always were the hometown favorite, but until Chris McCullough’s unexpected decision to go pro on Thursday, they didn’t have an available scholarship, so Bryant hadn’t heard from them in several months. Conversely, Indiana not only made Bryant their top priority but also had the most defined immediate role for him, given the void in the middle of their lineup. Kentucky and Missouri also were listed in Bryant’s final four, but his mother, Linda, went on record several months ago as saying that he wouldn’t be joining his former Huntington Prep coach, Rob Fulford, at Mizzou. The opportunity was unclear at Kentucky given the amount of big men both currently in the program and also considering the Wildcats next season.

    What he brings: The 6-foot-10 Bryant is a true big man with a high motor. He brings a definite sense of intensity to the floor and is a major presence inside the paint, especially on the defensive end. With his aggressive mentality, good size and 7-foot-6 wingspan, he’s a shot-blocking threat while also being a high-volume rebounder on both ends of the floor. He can be equally relentless around the rim on the offensive end, going to get second-chance scoring opportunities, finishing through contact relatively well and also running in transition effectively for a guy his size. He’s also more skilled than most people typically give him credit for. He has good command of a few basic moves with his back to the basket and he also has experience playing alongside another big man, which allows him to be productive from the high post. He’s a capable high-low passer and is also becoming a more consistent shooting threat from the top of the key. It’s also important to note that Bryant is still just 17 years old and is notably younger than most other top prospects in the class, meaning he might still have substantial long-term potential.

    How he fits: Bryant will step in to fill the void at center that Indiana has had since Noah Vonleh opted to leave last spring after his freshman season, at least a year earlier than anticipated. Hanner Mosquera-Perea did his best to hold down the spot before suffering a knee injury in January, but head coach Tom Crean elected to go small with his lineups far more often this year than he ever had at Indiana. Bryant will give the Hoosiers that true big man who can be an anchor on both ends of the floor. Given the amount of perimeter firepower at Indiana, his presence will be critical, not only in providing them with a backline defender but also to keep opposing shot-blockers honest on the offensive end, given his ability to clean up the offensive glass if his man leaves him to make a play on the ball.

    How the class is shaping up:Juwan Morgan and Ogugua Anunobyboth signed with Indiana in the fall and while neither is an overly celebrated recruit, they both project as solid additions to a front line that needed improved depth. Bryant’s presence clearly brings the class to another level and gives Crean the immediate-impact player he desperately needed. The big question now, though, is whether the Hoosiers can use Bryant’s pledge as a boost of momentum to further their pursuit of Thon Maker. Indiana had been perceived as an increasingly likely choice for Bryant in recent weeks, but Maker’s status is much more uncertain, given that they’re not only competing with other blue-blood programs, but also the allure of a professional contract overseas. If they could land Maker, they’d have as good a freshman frontcourt tandem as any team in the country next season.

    He reminds us of: It’s not a comparison you typically hear for Bryant, but he’s actually got some similarities to Emeka Okafor in his game. Okafor was probably more fluid laterally and more agile, but didn’t have quite Bryant’s length. While Bryant’s motor is perhaps “louder” than Okafor, both play the game very hard and are known first and foremost for their contributions on the defensive end with their ability to block shots and clean the glass. Okafor, too, had a little bit of a deceptive skill set. He was never overly polished with his back to the basket, but was still undeniably productive late in his college career at Connecticut and also had a better face-up shooting game than he was typically credited to have.

  • Tom, Thie is a great day for Hoosiers! Thing is, I just can’t believe the posters on here that still have nothing good to say.. I believe this will help us have a very good year next year… Why not live in the positive for a while.. I am.. I do appreciate your willingness to voice your opinions on here. In fact they are much like my own..

  • Eugene Debs

    How could you forget Prillman?

  • Eugene Debs

    LOL

  • TomJameson

    Well, you know, behind every silver lining there’s a dark cloud. LOL

  • MadMaxfor3

    “above water breathing” I literally just spit my drink everywhere when I read that. HAHAHAHA

  • Kyl470

    UK sends players to the NBA. IU sends players to other schools via transfer and occasionally to the NBA as well. Zeller, Vonleh, Victor all left school early for the NBA. I don’t expect IU to win the title every year, but I do expect to finish in the top 4 in the conference on a regular basis. In the CTC era IU has only finished in the top 4 one time. However, I will admit that CTC is a better coach than me personally, but I would hope that IU would set their sights here than just saying CTC is a better coach than a fan who posts on ITH’s website.

  • IUMIKE1

    Reliable sources, that have close ties inside the Blue Satanic Ring, are saying that they believe it will be close, but they expect all the tutoring that he has received will pay off and that he’ll squeak by and pass…..and if not, hell’s fire, we’ll just put eem on one of dem der breathin’ mocheenes and pass him anyway, cause ain’t nobody gonna know da difference no way.

  • Outoftheloop

    You never know about development, but I am intrigued by Jeremiah’s potential. He has some basketball skills. Now practicing against Thomas and Hanner should give him some good competition to go against. Thanks OleMan.

  • Bill Graham

    I agree. I did notice him moving out a bit. That would be nice to have. Regardless of if the pace slows, he’s still gonna be huge on the boards and that’s what hurt us this year.

  • William Anderson

    They did and he is. Can not please everyone IU will be just fine and I like most true fans will back the program and can see its the right direction. Let’s see how you feel about the program next year. BTW spend some time checking out the many many players that are transferring this isn’t an IU issue its a players decision. Also I am done with this back and forth you nor have any decision making so for me this is wasted time. Enjoy your summer.