CHICAGO – Class of 2015 Huntington Prep (W.V.) big man Thomas Bryant was at the United Center on Tuesday afternoon for media day for the McDonald’s All-America Game.
Inside the Hall had the chance to sit down with Bryant, who is considering the Hoosiers, for a one-on-one interview. Here’s a full transcript of our conversation:
How’s this experience been for you so far these last couple of days?
“It’s been great. It’s a once in a lifetime thing and I’m just blessed to be here and I’m just thanking God each and every day.”
As far as the game tomorrow night, sometimes it can be a guard dominated game, how do you make your mark?
“I’m just going to play hard, play smart and just don’t worry about whether it’s a guard oriented game because I still have a national tournament to play with Huntington Prep right after this, but I’m just living in the moment right now and I’m just blessed and am taking full advantage of it because I know it won’t happen again.”
What’s the transition like playing in an all-star game like this to go back to the team you’ve been with all season?
“It’s good because you get to wind down a little bit and play in an all-star game, have some fun but also know in the back of your head not to get too lackadaisical because you still have a team that is counting on you and still have to be in that mindset that it’s a national tournament that you’re trying to win and let’s get serious.”
Reading your comments from yesterday, do you anticipate making a decision after that tournament? Or are you still thinking that through?
Four-star class 2015 big man Thomas Bryant said on Monday that Indiana is recruiting him the hardest, according to Steve Jones of the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Bryant is currently in Chicago for the McDonald’s All-American Game, which takes place on Wednesday night, and he said he could have a college decision as soon as the end of this week.
A 6-foot-10, 240-pound center from Huntington Prep (W.V.), Bryant is rated the No. 27 prospect in the class of 2015, according to the 247 Composite. He is deciding between Indiana, Missouri, Syracuse and Kentucky.
But on Monday, Bryant told Jones that he has not heard from both Syracuse and Kentucky since January, and that Indiana is currently recruiting him the hardest. “They send me a ton of damn letters,” he said. He also said that he is under the impression that there is a scholarship available for him at Syracuse.
This past Saturday, 2015 four-star center Thomas Bryant made his second trip to Bloomington this school year in time for Indiana’s regular season finale against Michigan State.
Bryant on Monday night told Inside the Hall that he enjoyed his weekend visit to Bloomington, and that the Hoosiers remain “one of my final schools.”
“I thought it was great,” Bryant said. “Great atmosphere, the people treated you like their own. Great people there.”
Indiana has long made the 6-foot-10, 240 pound Bryant a priority in the 2015 recruiting class, offering him a scholarship this past summer and hosting him for an official visit in October. The Hoosiers almost had him on campus just a week later for Hoosier Hysteria, but he was ill and could not attend.
But following his senior season at Huntington Prep (W.V.) in which he averaged 17.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.5 steals per game and received invitations to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic, Bryant chose to come back to Bloomington for an unofficial visit for the Hoosiers’ last home game of the season.
Wearing a grey Indiana shirt, Bryant received multiple ovations from fans in attendance on Saturday. And as he walked off Branch McCracken Court after the game, Bryant raised his hand to acknowledge the Hoosiers fans cheering him on.
Five-star 7-footer Thon Maker will be in Assembly Hall for today’s Indiana-Michigan State game, a source has confirmed to Inside the Hall.
Maker is rated as a top-10 prospect in the 2016 class according to the 247Sports Composite, and today’s visit will be his first to Assembly Hall. That said, he said earlier this week there is a 70 percent chance he reclassifies into the 2015 class.
Maker, who attends Orangeville Prep in Ontario, is considering Kentucky, Kansas and Indiana, among other schools, even postponing a visit to Kansas to take a visit to Indiana.
“It’s a big offer, definitely,” he told Inside the Hall in August. “They are a great program.”
2015 McDonald’s All-American center Thomas Bryant will attend Indiana’s game against Michigan State on Saturday, Huntington Prep coach Arkell Bruce confirmed to Inside the Hall on Friday.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Bryant is rated the No. 27 prospect in the 2015 class, according to the 247Sports Composite, and is considering Indiana, Syracuse, Missouri and Kentucky as his college destinations, per Bruce.
Bryant took an official visit to Bloomington in October and has remained in touch with Indiana’s staff since then.
“I like their mindset of how they play,” Bryant told Inside the Hall in July. “They let guys do more than just one position. You can come in as one position and train at a different spot, too. You never know when you may need to play another spot or in a different position against another player.”
This past season, Bryant led Huntington Prep to a 31-2 record, averaging 17.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.5 steals per game.
Growing up less than 70 miles from each other, Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby had played each other plenty of times before Tuesday’s game between Waynesville High and Jefferson City High in Jefferson City, Missouri.
But this game was different.
This was the first meeting between the two friends as Indiana University signees. And Hoosiers coach Tom Crean looked on as Anunoby and Jefferson City prevailed, 57-49.
The 6-foot-8 Anunoby finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while the 6-foot-8 Morgan finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds in the losing effort.
“It was a lot of fun since we’ll be playing together next year,” Morgan told Inside the Hall. “We’ve been playing each other for a while now, so it’s always fun and competitive. And it was funny because before we knew we were going to college together, and now we have that friendship where we know almost what we’re going to do at the moment we’re going to do it. And so that’s why it was hard going against each other, but it was fun at the same time.”
Lamar Stevens wanted to see something different.
The 6-foot-6, 215 pound forward had never visited a school outside of Pennsylvania until this past weekend when he and his parents flew in for an unofficial visit to Indiana.
With schools like Villanova, Temple and Penn State all pushing to keep him close to home, the four-star class of 2016 prospect has also taken a high level of interest in the IU program.
“I’ve talked with Tom Crean over the phone and from his resume, he’s a very successful coach,” Stevens told Inside the Hall. “I’ve always been interested in watching schools like Indiana. So I’ve always had an interest in watching them and I wanted to get a feel for a different school outside of Pennsylvania. So that’s why we decided to take the trip. I’d never visited a school outside of Pennsylvania.”
Rated the No. 71 player nationally by the 247Composite, Stevens, who plays at the Haverford School, received an Indiana offer in July. The Haverford School is a private, all-boys school just outside of Philadelphia.
Assistant coach Chuck Martin, along with Crean, have both taken an active role in his recruitment.