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.
Indiana’s class of 2015 recruits, Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby, both tell Inside the Hall they plan to sign National Letters of Intent with the Hoosiers during the early signing period that begins today.
In a text message, Anunoby, a three-star forward from Jefferson City (Mo.) said he will sign on Monday, Nov. 17.
Morgan, a four-star forward from Waynesville (Mo.) said he will sign on Wednesday, Nov. 19, which is the final day of the early signing period.
Both players were on campus late last month for Hoosier Hysteria.
The 6-foot-8 Anunoby, who averaged 21.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game and was named first team all-state in Missouri for Class 5 as a junior, chose the Hoosiers over Georgia, Gonzaga, Iowa, Ole Miss and several others.
Morgan, a 6-foot-9 forward, chose Indiana over Vanderbilt, Washington and others. He was named the most improved player in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) for the 2014 season, averaging 10.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in the league’s regular season for MoKan Elite and 12.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 2.2 steals in the Peach Jam finals in July.
Indiana’s two-man recruiting class is currently ranked ninth in the Big Ten according to the 247Composite.
Mike Peterson has traveled a lot to Bloomington over the past couple years. And he knows he will continue to make the hour drive to IU plenty of times in the near future.
As the head coach of the Indy Hoosiers Grind AAU program, perhaps the top 15-and-under team in the nation this past summer, Peterson has had many of his players earn interest from Indiana.
Just this past Saturday, Peterson took several of his players to Bloomington for Hoosier Hysteria. And though it was not their first trip to IU, Peterson said he got the same reaction from his players that he usually gets following a trip to Bloomington.
“I think they all enjoyed going down to Bloomington and seeing that crazy fan support and getting the chance to see the new players and talk to coach (Tom) Crean,” Peterson told Inside the Hall on Thursday. “I’m not really hearing anything negative about IU from them. I think coach Crean and coach (Tim) Buckley have almost built like a close family oriented atmosphere with the kids. Everybody knows each other on a first-name basis. We’re down there a lot. I think they’re very comfortable with IU.
“I think the distance helps. I think the history helps. I think the way the coaching staff allows them to play and not only that, but the biggest thing is when you land in Bloomington, you leave a bigger, stronger, better athlete, better player than when you came. And that’s huge.”
Before three of Peterson’s players even played a game in high school, Crean extended scholarship offers.
Last year, the Hoosiers offered guard Paul Scruggs (Southport) and forwards Kris Wilkes (North Central) and Zach Gunn (Hamilton Southeastern). The trio led the Hoosiers to an undefeated record in 15U AAU action this past summer, including wins in the Under Armour Jayhawk Invitational, Under Armour Invitational and Under Armour’s The Finals.