Q & A: Thomas Bryant at McDonald’s All-American media day

  • 03/31/2015 1:55 pm in

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?

“I’m thinking about trying to make it soon, but I’m just taking it day by day. My mom and I are talking over it and once we’re in agreement on everything, that’s when everybody else will know. It shouldn’t be too long.”

You were on a visit recently to Indiana for the Michigan State game, what were your impressions and what are your overall impressions of Tom Crean and how you might fit into that system?

“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. 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.”

Will it be a factor on whether Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams decide to return to school?

“I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t really heard too much. As far as I know, they’re there and they’re still going to be there.”

You mentioned (yesterday) that Syracuse and Kentucky hadn’t been in quite as much contact with you, would you say that Indiana is recruiting you the hardest right now?

“Yeah, Indiana and Missouri.”

What about the Mizzou program is keeping them in the mix and what do you like about them?

“Just coach Rob (Fulford) being there and him being my old coach (at Huntington Prep) and also Montaque Gill-Caesar who was my old teammate last year and me and him have so much chemistry together and we just love playing with each other.”

Your game in general, how would you describe it and what are you working on the most now as you head into your college career?

“I would say I’m a guy that always brings energy and passion to the game. I never let a day off. I’m also a guy who has developed tremendously on the offensive and defensive end to being quicker, being more lateral and also a guy that is an interior scorer and an outside scorer that can shoot a jump shot, too.”

(Photo credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

Filed to:

  • Caleb Moore

    good stuff. Got to like our chances here. Could make a major difference on just how far the Hoosiers could go next year.

  • hoosier93

    Will OG be allowed to wear his headband?

  • IUBizmark

    Love this kid, if nothing else, because of his intensity. He brings it on every possession and doesn’t take lip from anyone. This squad needs that and it’ll force everyone around him to up their hustle, commitment and intensity as well.

  • inLinE6

    I asked that question before. I don’t think so.

  • inLinE6

    Sounds to me he’s a lock now. “My mom and I are talking over it and once we’re in agreement on everything, that’s when everybody else will know. It shouldn’t be too long.” You know what that means. Come on mama just let the kid come to b-town.

  • 214_Hoosier

    I’d like to say this is a “must get” recruit, but refuse on the basis I will not allow myself to become disappointed if he jilts IU and goes elsewhere. Hopeful, yet pessimistic.

  • BobbyBeGoodKnight

    Does anyone know why they can’t wear them? Is it an IU decision or possibly a B1G rule? Less mistaken, I can’t seem to recall any conference players wearing them either.

  • IU track Alumni

    If this kid comes to B-town he will allow all of our players to play in their own positions and that would be huge for us. No more Collin, Troy, and Emmitt at the 5. Come to IU Thomas! The next Marco Killingsworth but better!!

  • IU track Alumni

    I hope so. IU needs to let go of that tradition and let the kids express themselves. headbans, sleeves, etc. I think it plays a part in recruiting. Add some swag IU! lol

  • ForeverIU

    Dear Ms. Bryant. We promise you that Troy is a good kid, always has been! And Hanner too. And Stan … well. LOL.

  • inLinE6

    We don’t have names on the back of our jersey, remember?

  • marcusgresham

    Shooting sleeves look stupid.
    I’ll miss Hoetzel, but at least no one will be wearing yoga pants next season.

  • marcusgresham

    After reading about Missouri having his former coach and teammate I felt a bit less certain about things. I’d rather it be Mizzou than UK or Syracuse, though.

  • inLinE6

    LMAO! Yes. No yoga pants or pinkies.

  • MK

    lets just say it may upset some of the “older” “traditional” fans that dont like tats or rap music either 😉

  • marcusgresham

    Can we shoot for DJ White over Killingsworth?

  • Trevor Howenstine

    How about asking…
    1) It seems Indiana has all the pieces with a 1st team all big ten point guard, a mcdonalds all American shooting guard in JBJ, premier 3 point shooters in RJ and NZ along with excellent wings in Williams, Holt, HMP and CH. What is their missing piece to making a run to the final four or National championship in your opinion?
    2) Does significant playing time your freshman year 30+ minutes on a team that will go far in accomplishments weigh in on your decision at all?
    3) You witnessed the environment and fans at assembly hall, been around the players and campus, how do you feel you would be welcomed and fit in to this program?

  • hoosier93

    Well they don’t look stupid to the players that wear them. They’ve grown up watching players wear them. Biggest of all… Allen Iverson.

  • hoosier93

    Bryant won’t average 30+ minutes a game. He’ll get 21-25. Not even Zeller was able to average 30 minutes a game.

  • IU track Alumni

    They may look stupid to you but I want you to ask all the All Americans playing tonight if they look stupid to them! And yes those yoga pants were terrible! lmao!

  • IU track Alumni

    I’ll take a 2.0 version of either of those guys!

  • Dooteetime

    I hope we get Bryant but his comments about Missouri have me worried. He seemed pumped up when talking about the coach and ex-teammate. If we do not add a quality big men like Bryant then I think we will still make the tourney next year but wont get past round 1. Probably an 8-12 seed next year.

  • IU track Alumni

    I wish we did.

  • MadMaxfor3

    Thank you. If you think they look stupid that’s great. If a player wants to wear them and it helps them feel more comfortable I’m all for it.

  • ForeverIU

    I think players generally like to break out of their “high school mode”, no?

  • hoosier93

    I wouldn’t mind names on jerseys either. Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, UCLA, Cuse, UofL, Michigan State, Ohio State, Florida blah blah blah… all put names on the back. It means something to a player to see their last name on the back. It doesn’t mean they’re selfish.

  • OhioHoosier

    Anthony lee wore one at ohio state this year.

  • IU track Alumni

    Well put. We got to stop living in the good old glory days and modernize some things. We are in the 21st century! I work in a High School and coach AAU and the kids cant get enough sleeves, Elite socks, under armour, and the list goes on and on. Thats just the way kids think now.

  • Arch Puddington

    I get it that these are rhetorical questions, but the implication that this one player could elevate us to national championship contention seems extremely far fetched to me. Even with all the pieces you describe already in place, this year’s team lost 10 of its last 15 games, including three straight home losses and a bad loss to Northwestern, and two of its five victories during that stretch were against Rutgers.

    A guy like Bryant would help, but I don’t see us as a Final Four team next year no matter who we get. No four-star freshman could possibly be the difference between 5-10 down the stretch this year and national championship contention next year. Even with him I see us as top 20-ish overall, top 3 in the B1G, maybe a Sweet 16.

  • hoosier93

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. But I’m 21 so I’m still a youngster. And Indiana does need to modernize. We’re still stuck in the 80’s it seems. I think that hurts us as well. Hopefully we’ll make the switch to Under Armour and start letting the players wear sleeves and headbands and putting names on the back. Give the players what they want. Make them comfortable.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I have no clue what players generally want or what 17/18 year old kids think but a recent instance in which the hiring of a high school coach seemed to directly influence an IU prospect that went elsewhere was Isaiah Whitehead. His coach was hired by Seton Hall and Whitehead committed to the Pirates. Again, I have no clue what most think but for some, there is plenty of appeal in playing under a familiar coach.

  • CreamandCrimson

    100% agree…people are welcome to be as optimistic as they want to be and I’ll have no qualms with anyone projecting great things for IU for next season, everyone is welcome to an opinion. I am rather surprised though at the ability of many to very quickly wash the months of February and March from their brains. I have no clue how much of an impact Thomas Bryant and the other two newcomers could/will have but I do know that the last “good” team the current IU squad defeated was way back in January, our defense was all kinds of awful and we definitely aren’t the only team that returns and adds good players.

  • Pianoroark

    Arch, I don’t think anyone believes if we’d stuck Bryant in at the 5 this past year it’d mean final four contention. Team’s too young. But Bryant on next year’s team, when we’ll have two other new solid front court pieces, plus possibly Devin Davis back, plus, most importantly, that extra year of experience for everyone on this year’s team, it’s definitely not far-fetched to say we should be in a fight for a BIG title and a 2-3 seed in the NCAA tourney. Everyone will be older, wiser, stronger, and then we’ll have a high quality center and two other new bigs to boot. It’d be a spectacular failure on Crean’s part if we aren’t at least seeded like a team that can make the final four, with this group, I think.

  • ForeverIU

    Yeah, I actually thought about that one when I was writing my comment. Things haven’t turned out well there, have they? I wonder if perceived favoritism, cliquishness, etc. have contributed to the tensions. I have no idea if Whitehead’s relationship to one of the coaches contributed …

  • CreamandCrimson

    No, things have definitely not gone well at Seton Hall….a really bad season on the court (after a promising start), fractures and divisiveness in the locker room, grumbling from the fan base. I have no clue what (if anything) Whitehead and his high school coach had to do with it but they definitely underperformed this season. If Bryant chooses to go to Missouri because of a former coach and former teammate, I won’t begrudge him that…sometimes those things work out and sometimes they don’t.

  • inLinE6

    You remember when Goodluck Okonoboh was recruited, how much he liked about our program, how close he was with coach Crean and Johnson, and how much he wanted to play alongside with former teammate Noah Vonleh? What I learned from that experience was, nothing like that actually matters.

  • The thing is.. if just a few more shots had fallen, like maybe three.. it would not have been 5-10 down the stretch, with the guys we have now… It wouldn’t take a monumental change to really put us back to where we belong… and could’ve been this year. I just think Yogi missing that shot at the end of the MD game.. and then he had a couple of other chances.. I really think he lost his ‘Mojo’ after that..
    An’ we all know you gotta have that…lol…

  • Ms hoosier

    Watching TB play at the McAA scrimmage like what I see. The kid plays hard. Come to IU Thomas!!!!

  • ForeverIU

    It’s risky redefining an existing relationship in a new setting. Let your credentials speak for you without the specters of old relationships. New and varied experiences build character and resilience. I feel in general it’s a good idea to move on and let the past be past. But that’s just my attitude to such things.

  • IULore

    Poor man’s? Why can’t he be even better?

  • MadMaxfor3

    I hope he does become better but Draymond Green is probably the most improved player in the NBA this year and is a lockdown defender. In college he was hugely important to MSU and extremely dominant. So yes poor man’s

  • calbert40

    I find it fascinating to try to figure out the mind of HS kid on his recruitment. No two are alike. We are all being detectives reading over ever word. It’s kinda humorous.

    Anyway, here is how I see it. Why is he down to the four schools he lists? Mizzou – personal relationships. Syracuse – close to home, mom’s choice. UK – as much as it hurts to admit, the #1 program in the country for bigs currently. IU – scheme and PT (and it sounds like he likes Crean).

    What’s most important to him? No one knows but him. It wouldn’t be a shock if he went to any of those places, but I like our chances. Mizzou and SU seem to be places that were picked for him instead of picked BY him. UK and IU seem to be the ones he has chosen himself.

  • BobbyBeGoodKnight

    I thought so. He wore one at Temple too, I believe.

  • BobbyBeGoodKnight

    Thanks, man.

  • inLinE6

    Now I know why he was reluctant to come. Headband is a big thing for the dude.

  • hoosier93

    I still remember Killingworth asking the crowd if he could shoot a 3.

  • SilentBob

    They might not look good but if it makes one more comfortable than so be it. Either way it’s preferable, to me, than watching a player covered head to toe in tattoos like some kids are these days. I’m a bit old fashioned for my twenty two years. A few tattoos, cool whatever, but if you look like you just got done cooking a batch a meth with your biker bodies I have a difficult time rooting for you lol.

  • dwdkc

    Pianoroark has it just right. Even without Bryant, next year’s team should be substantially better due to experience and the leap from freshman to sophomore strengthwise at least by 3 very key pieces in Holt, JBJ and RJ. Add a bigger guy to the mix with a better, deeper frontcourt with all the returnees and yes, we should be very good. I am assuming there will be an increased dedication to better defense, as clearly this will be a point of emphasis by the coaches. Talentwise we will exceed this year’s Michigan State, if not the other three, and granted we don’t have a March miracle worker at coach, but let’s see what he can do. He would have all the right pieces for his type of team except for a backup true “big” although maybe as a senior Hanner can qualify.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Utterly ridiculous

  • David Macer

    I’m guessing its the school and coach. National federation rules require them to be the same color by all who wear them. They can be white, black, beige or the predominate color of the jersey. But all have to be the same color.