Five-star center Thomas Bryant on IU: “They’re recruiting me pretty hard”

  • 07/25/2014 3:26 pm in

Class of 2015 Huntington Prep (W.V.) center Thomas Bryant is one of 33 players in Colorado Springs this week vying for a spot on USA Basketball’s U17 World Championship team.

A native of Rochester, New York, the 6-foot-10, 220 pound Bryant is regarded as one of the best centers in the country and the opportunity to play against other elite talents like Ivan Rabb, Daniel Giddens and Henry Ellenson is one he’s embraced.

“They always play hard, you can’t take a play off against those guys,” he told Inside the Hall by phone from Colorado Springs. “They all know how to score and you’ve just got to find a way to get a defensive stop against them. It makes you a better player.”

While Bryant routinely faced the nation’s best players in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), where he plays for New York-based Team SCAN, he said it doesn’t get any better than a camp where he’s strictly facing the nation’s best players.

“I’m loving it out here,” he said. “It’s a blessing just to be here and I’m just playing as hard as I can against high-level players. Just coming up with different combinations to try to score (is a challenge) or get a deflection and just trying to keep my intensity up, really.”

Bryant’s play last week in the EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam was a big reason that Team SCAN advanced all the way to the event’s semifinals.

Over five games at the Peach Jam, he averaged 16 points and 10.5 rebounds. He also had 10 blocks, hit 19 of his 22 free throws and made 62.9 percent of his field goals. Bryant is currently rated as the No. 22 prospect nationally according to the 247Composite.

His recruitment is full of high major schools, including Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio State, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia and several others.

“It’s mostly just ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 schools,” he explained. “There are really no specific ones (coming the hardest).”

One new school that has entered the mix with Bryant is Indiana. The Hoosier staff offered a scholarship recently and Bryant is open to their message thus far.

“They have (offered). I like their mindset of how they play,” Bryant said. “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.”

Although the interest from Indiana is recent, Bryant said the Hoosiers are making a push to gain traction as he begins to schedule official visits.

“They’ve talked to me (about needing a big man),” he said. “They’re recruiting me pretty hard.”

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  • HoosierGrampy

    Absolutely NO problem with anything you’ve written. Like yourself, I also want to see IU get back to being a force on the college courts. I personally think Crean is not going to be the coach who takes us there. However, he is the coach, and I hope he does have the smarts to tweak his offensive sets in order to capitalize on the firepower in his back court. Whether or not he is successful in doing this will largely depend on how willing Yogi will be to share the rock w/his team mates. CTC has most of the tools he has said he needs to make his team function. Hell, he recruited each of them…so he cannot point the finger at anyone but himself for any deficiencies this year. I want these guys to succeed. If/when they come up short, I truly hope it won’t be due to a lack of effort. Be well!

  • CreamandCrimson

    I assume he’s saying that you seem depressed or extremely upset about the current state of our program (I don’t know though, to insinuate you would do something harmful to yourself or others is more than ridiculous).

    Anyway, just wanted to say, thanks for your service.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I would agree that Bryant, Zimmerman and Swanigan are long shots (at best) and it sounds like Thon Maker is going to stay in the 2016 class. I don’t think IU is out of the picture with Nick Marshall (who I think seems like a really good fit for our system, his strengths are rebounding and defense/protecting the rim) so he remains a possibility in my mind.

    I don’t think IU lands a center in the 2015 class (unfortunately). I think Tom Crean and staff have made it a priority and will continue to make it a priority but I don’t think a true center actually comes into the fold. However, I do think there are a couple of realistic, and good, options at power forward that could become good bigs in our system. Juwan Morgan (6’8″ and apparently growing) has been linked heavily to IU and has already seen a game in Assembly Hall (always a plus) and Alex Illikainen (6’9″ skilled big man from Minnesota) seems like a Wisconsin guy all the way but I think we have a shot. It seems like the 2015 class is taking a long time to unfold so there will probably be a couple of other big guys who emerge as options.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Can’t pull off the upset if you give up when the going gets tough. Maybe the coaches are seeing/hearing some level of interest that keeps them involved.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I agree with most of what you said but I really don’t think having one of Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee wouldn’t have made IU legit title contenders (or anything close to it really)…

  • plane1972

    A little playful banter on your, seemingly, less than positive outlook. No offense, Grampy. I’ll make a mental note not to engage in the future.

  • HoosierGrampy

    I always enjoy reading & occasionally responding to your comments on these pages! Having lived through more than a couple peaks and valleys with IU basketball since 1975-6, it will take more than a couple more sub-par seasons to really upset me. I probably should not get irritated or frustrated to learn that IU is not among the front-runners for any of the ESPN Top 60 bigs…Crean’s guard-oriented offensive sets/philosophy is not conducive to taking advantage of their skills anyway. Probably much safer to go after unknown/lesser talented 3-star recruits. They are less likely to get homesick or disappointed.

  • Alford Bailey

    It”s water under the bridge at this point but a top recruit leaves mid season and claims “homesick” it rarely happens in big time cbb. Thus a red flag. My 30+ years in business tells me there is more to the story but who cares at this point whats done is done.