Indiana statement on four players who have declared for NBA draft

  • 04/11/2017 5:42 pm in

Indiana announced that four Hoosiers – James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby – have declared for the 2017 NBA draft.

Here’s the full release, with quotes from Archie Miller and all four players, from IU athletics:

Four members of this year’s Indiana University men’s basketball team will put their names in for the 2017 NBA Draft. Junior guards James Blackmon, Jr. and Robert Johnson and sophomore center Thomas Bryant will not hire an agent while sophomore forward O.G. Anunoby will hire representation and leave the program.

“These four young men all have unique talents and we support them in their decisions,” said new IU Coach Archie Miller. “We congratulate O.G. and hope that James, Robert and Thomas can benefit from this and make the best decision that will have a lifelong impact. As the semester winds down, we will continue to help them in any way with our priority being they continue their commitment to their academics and all eventually become Indiana University graduates.”

Blackmon was a third team All-Big Ten honoree by the media and honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches in 2016-17 after averaging 17.0 points overall and 16.5 points per game in league play while leading the conference in 3-point field goals made per game (3.0). He was named one of 10 finalists for the Jerry West Award and became the 50th player in IU history to surpass 1,000 career points and finished his junior year with 1,235 points, which ranks 33rd in school history.

“My ultimate goal has always been to play professionally and this is an opportunity I want to take advantage of,” said Blackmon. “This is an important process and I am excited to take part in it.”

Johnson is the most experienced Hoosiers having made 87 career starts. He is on the cusp of joining the 1,000-point club with 978 career points and was second on the team averaging 12.8 points per game and 13.2 points in Big Ten play. He was eighth in the Big Ten averaging 2.1 three-point field goals per game and also had 85 assists.

“I’m excited to go through this process and use this as a learning experience,” said Johnson. “Every player in college has the goal to compete at the highest level and I’m looking forward to what the future may hold.”

Bryant is a two-time third-team All-Big Ten selection and currently holds the IU career-record for field goal percentage at 59.2% and averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds this past year. He has started all 69 games that he has played in and also became a threat from the outside making 38.3% of his three-point field goal attempts hitting on 23 of 60 attempts after making just five treys a year ago. He was 10th in the Big Ten in rebounding and fifth in blocked shots with a team-high 52 blocks.

“I’m going to put all my energy in getting the most out of this opportunity and see what the best decision will be for my future,” said Bryant. “I love IU and my teammates, but having the opportunity to play basketball for a living has always been my dream.”

Anunoby came to IU as an unheralded recruit but quickly made an impression with his athleticism and defensive ability, especially in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. He suffered a season-ending knee injury on January 18 at Penn State and, despite the setback, has remained in most NBA mock drafts securely in the first round. He started 10 of 16 games this season and averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds. His best game of the year came with a 16-point, five-rebounds, two-block effort in a win over eventual national champion North Carolina. He injured his ankle late in that game and missed the next three games. He also had 21 blocked shots and 21 steals.

“I have enjoyed my time at Indiana and after thinking this over with my family, I believe this is the best decision for me personally,” said Anunoby. “I will always be grateful to Coach Crean, his staff, and especially my teammates for two of the best years of my life. I wish Coach Miller and the program the best of luck in the future.”

Filed to:

  • Mark Bando

    Good points. I’m surprised too.

  • I agree, which if that’s the feedback TB gets during the process then he’ll be back.

  • Maybe so, unless he shows us something next season, but the process certainly won’t hurt anything. And if he _does_ have a prayer, then the feedback he gets might be just what needs.

  • Alan H

    None of the 4 are ready for the NBA. OG is still so raw. He needs to learn to play basketball and I’m not sure he will sitting on an NBA bench, but 1st rd money is hard to turn down. JBJ still doesn’t play D well enough to thrive in the NBA, but I’m not sure with the new coach and his injury history that coming back to school makes any sense for him. TB and RJ should return to school. Archie will improve both kids defensively and give them more structure which should be good for both their games. TB will benefit from having the offense run through him. RJ would benefit from being CAM’s senior leader and shooting guard.

    I’d love to see CAM utilize both centers, TB, D’RD, on the court at the same time creating a physical miss match in the post.

  • rob salway

    Completely agree on all of that. If JBJ does go I’d imagine we’ll see McKinley Wright next year as well unless Arch wants to hold that roster spot open for ’18 with Phinisee or Garland.

  • rob salway

    Mark’s point is that it doesn’t hurt or cost him anything to get feedback/advise from NBA personnel. Even if it’s not for the draft he can get an idea of what he needs to work on in hopes of someday making it as an undrafted prospect. Regardless he can only benefit from this experience.

  • rob salway

    I’m so sick of hearing “these things just work themselves out”. Do they? Or is there almost always an individual that pays the price to have it “work out”? I am not that in tune with other programs but I don’t see these problems arising with other top tier programs in the country year in and year out. I could be wrong and just don’t see it. On a side note sorry to keep replying to your comments Mark lol. You seem to raise good points that I want to say something about.

  • Neil

    I think it is a good idea to test the waters and get feedback but truth be told none of these guys are NBA caliber yet and this year the draft is loaded. I just hope the process shows them this. Playing in the NBA is a dream we all share but good things come to those who wait.

  • beppecolo

    Hope OG’s decision works out for him. There are a lot of more skilled and more schooled players than he in this draft and I could see him falling out of 1st round. IMO, he had more to gain by staying in school than any of the others.

  • IULore

    I pretty much agree.

  • IULore

    Things YOU feel. And I’ll pull an ‘ole man’ and point out that while it is possible, it’s just your opinion.

  • IULore

    I think that is a key in transfers not happening

  • IULore

    We was probably talking about Mckinley Wright, who has reportedly seen interest from IU

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    No way I’d leave to play in the D-League. 3 tiers of salaries ranging from $19.5k to $26k. Not exactly living the dream. Depending on who you ask, college players are compensated more than that.

  • Molon Labe

    This is the second year of this process and as it continues I think the NCAA time table for late recruits to commit will adjust. Many other teams will be in the same position as IU and a lot of those teams will be high level teams in big conferences because those are the ones with higher skill level players that may want to test the waters. I think very soon the what we think of as a late date to make decisions for recruits will just become the norm.

  • marcusgresham

    Johnson wouldn’t get two more years of playing. He’s used three years of eligibility, so he only has one left; but if he’s a graduate he doesn’t have to sit out.

  • marcusgresham

    If it’s something he “can’t” do, then he isn’t going to make an NBA team. I’ve seen him have stints where he did play good defense, though, so I don’t think it’s a “can’t” so much as a lack of focus and commitment.

  • Molon Labe

    You still have Priller to think about too. He could always help the situation by transferring. I would suspect he is graduating based on what we heard last year and that would allow him to go somewhere without sitting out. Not sure if you were considering him one of the “underclassmen’ or not.

  • Why, how dare you comment in a discussion thread?!? 🙂

    I’m with you, this situation really bugs me. I really wonder if Archie’s comment about keeping a scholarship or two open is because he was looking at this situation and disliking it as much as we do.

  • Molon Labe

    Did we get toxic about “his” game or just the way Crean used him and tried to change “his” game? I think most people would fully support TB coming back and going back to his role from his Freshman year or at least be more of a traditional PF and stay closer to the basket.

  • marcusgresham

    I was thinking the same thing.

  • marcusgresham

    He lacks the size to be a 2, but if he can develop into a dependable back-up point guard he’s big enough.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Happy the guys are exploring options, good for them to get some feedback from NBA people. no matter who stays or goes i believe there is excitment in the air for next season

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    just remember the NBA drafts players based on potential and OG could be A STUD in the league

  • John D Murphy

    I thought I heard TP picked up a 2nd major. And if you were a guy like TP, wouldn’t you want to sit a year and get two more years paid for. I would. I was thinking of GG but it could also be CJ or DG. Assuming JBJ and RJ both come back (which is/was my prediction) we’ve just got too many guards to give minutes to if you are planning on playing 9-10 guys. GG is shut out of minutes and probably either CJ or DG as well . If we can keep both CJ and DG, I’d like to see one of them redshirt next year.

  • Veritas238

    If Troy can make it… RJ surely has a chance. Really depends on his self-discipline on how much growth he has in the off-seasons before the draft next year.

  • cbags05

    Yeah I’m clearly confused about the Grad Transfer rule. I thought a student with a degree and wants a masters that the current school does not offer can transfer without penalty and obtain a 5th year of eligibility. I can’t find a good explanation of the rule either. ugh

  • Zach

    He’s doing a double major and isn’t graduating this semester.

  • Zach

    Although some would argue it’s actually better to go undrafted than late in the second round so you get to choose your situation. JBJ if gone undrafted would have several teams calling and offering him summer league deals and he’d get to pick the situation that gives him the best chance to make a roster.

  • Alan H

    Potential, yes, but by the time OG is a valuable asset he’ll be on his second contract

  • KelvinSampson87

    I agree with the RJ statement. I guess it is true the feedback could be valuable but I don’t see NBA coaches and scouts putting a ton of effort into providing constructive feedback to players they don’t see as potential future prospects. If I were in their position and I see a guy that’s not NBA material my feedback would be as simple as your not NBA material.

    I could be missing something and I don’t mean to imply RJ isn’t a valuable asset for IU. I just don’t see the athleticism and potential for an NBA career.

  • TomJameson

    Usually when a graduate transfers, and invokes the grad transfer rule, they are seniors. With that rule, a player doesn’t get an automatic 5 years of eligibility, they just gets an extra year without having to sit out a year. IF RJ graduates after three years, and I don’t know for sure he will, then he can transfer without sitting out a year, but that would only be finishing his 4th (and no more) year of eligibility. He would then have no eligibility remaining.

    That’s my understanding of this anyway.

  • TomJameson

    The thing is, the head coach and staff know a heck of a lot more than any of us about the situation involving their players. I think they have a very good idea of who’s going to transfer, who’s going to declare, and probably a good idea of who could very possibly actually BE drafted. They get feedback from the NBA, scouts, and a lot of other professionals whose business this is.

    To us we get the “things just work out” …. but it really is true. We don’t have to make up words like “Creaned” or “Belined” to justify a player leaving to better his situation. But we do. I’m not saying there are no shenanigans going on ever. I just think there is a lot more control in the process than we give credit for.

    To me it’s not really an insane hope … it’s more of a faith that the head coach knows what he’s doing.

  • TomJameson

    Donnie, I’ll go out on a limb and say that it’s very possible that it’s a little bit of both what you AND Mark said.

    Pretty sure some/most of the players really like what they see in Archie, but it’s possible that the pure love and loyalty that a few of the players have for Crean is influencing their decisions as well.

  • Sure, I hear what you’re saying. Even so, I still like the idea that Archie could take something of a different approach where it makes sense to do so. He seems like a guy who wants to avoid any appearance of issues, let alone the reality of them.

  • TomJameson

    I agree about Archie. I guess I just don’t see where there’s really a problem at this time. We won’t even know anything about 3 of the players until May 24th (maybe earlier). Plus there is still one of the recruits who hasn’t yet re-committed. And the rumors about one of his recruits from Dayton following him aren’t really confirmed, unless I just missed it (very possible 🙂

    This “problem” isn’t even Archies, it’s what it is when he got here. So, again, I just don’t see a problem at this point. Mark, I know you hate to hear it, but I think it will work itself out. 🙂

  • IUMIKE1

    Label me as, more, than a little surprised.

  • IUMIKE1

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • Agreed 100% about this not being Archie’s problem (I mean, it’s his to fix, but it’s not his creation). It’s definitely something he’s inherited. And he’s doing everything else the right way, so I doubt I’ll be fretting this next year.

  • TomJameson

    Well, Alex gave his opinion in his new monthly question/answer thread, that he thought the scholarships would come out even, or maybe even need to get one.

    Keep in mind it is still just an opinion, but his is probably worth a bit more than mine. 🙂 Pretty sure you’re keeping up on that thread, right? Pretty interesting stuff!

  • Yeah, I’ve been mixing it up between the premium forum and here.

  • IUMIKE1

    If anything different from that I’d say it would be that one underclassman transfers, but I really don’t see that happening.