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:

  • John D Murphy

    RJ is a little bit of a surprise. Sounds like we’re getting 3 back. May 24 is the deadline to withdraw your name.

  • Mark Bando

    With the draft being June 22 we won’t know the make-up of this team for awhile. If I was JBJ I would leave for sure, either Europe or try and make a team like Yogi and Troy did. RJ and TB should come back.

  • cbags05

    Are RJ and JBJ getting their degrees at the end of semester? I would not assume 3 are coming back. I could easily see RJ and JBJ transfering or choosing to play professionally overseas.

  • BannerOrBust

    Good decision for all of them. Best of luck. Do what’s best for you!

  • iugradmark

    Would like to know about RJ as well. I have seen posts both ways. Early on his father said he was graduating and that he could transfer and have other opportunities. Later I heard he was not graduating yet so would love to see something official. Starting to make sense why Archie is passing out so many offers. I think he expects some of these guys to move on including going to Europe or the D league.

  • SCHoosier

    Having to maybe keep three slots available until late May for possible ‘returnees” might send ’17 recruits Moore and Smith in another direction? Probably the right way to go for JB, RJ and TB. Do they get an automatic invite to the NBC camps?

  • John D Murphy

    He didn’t hire an agent. Unless that changes before May 24 I would think he is coming back. If they don’t withdraw by May 24, they can’t return. The not hiring an agent is leaving the door open. I thought JBJ was gone so this is a little surprising to me.

  • Mark Bando

    yeah, i get what you are saying. but i dont see JBJ stock rising any more after another year. he might as well at the very least go to europe and make some cash before he gets hurt again

  • John D Murphy

    I heard JBJ was close, not sure about RJ. I’m not worried about t’fers (graduate or otherwise) at this point. The not hiring an agent and leaving the door open to return is a big sign. At this point, the declaring is really just going through the evaluation process and getting to speak to to the NBA personnel guys. I thought JBJ was gone, so I’m a bit surprised he hasn’t hired an agent. Without an agent, the players would be at a huge disadvantage (except the top tier guys). This is the best I’ve ever felt about of 17-18 roster.

  • iugradmark

    Kind of looks like the kids forced Archie’s hand a bit. He has said that he would announce all player changes in one announcement but the past couple of days they have been dribbling out so he decided to make one big announcement. RJ is the surprise. I was also expecting to hear if any under-class players were going to transfer. Don’t know if they just haven’t announced it yet or if this means they are staying. Mostly thinking about the current frosh class.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Good point. As a coach/program is the priority to “hold the spots” of current players testing professional waters, at least for another month or so, or is the priority with future players and filling up the roster? That is a tough one.

  • John D Murphy

    Smith never asked for his release. He is committed the same way Durham is, there just wasn’t the drama. I think it highly likely all 3 return and certainly 2 of the 3. If TB wanted to get drafted, he needs to be in private workouts 8 hours a day every day right now. That’s what an agent can do for you. He doesn’t have an agent.

  • Brian Ritchie

    Why on earth would they transfer??? You have received no clue

  • John D Murphy

    Current prediction. Moore will not come. One current underclassman will transfer. JBJ, RJ, TB return.

    With OG gone, that would set the scholarship situation.

  • Ole Man

    Except for speaking to the recruited players, Archie isn’t “passing out so many offers.”
    TB and JBJ were totally expected.
    It makes sense for RJ if he has the desire to play in the league when he leaves. He gets free advice on what he needs to work on. He gets extra practices with the coaching staff.
    As for transfers, that makes no sense, even if they’re grads.
    Both being guards would be leaving one of the better known “guard” coaches in the business.

  • iugradmark

    I don’t think JBJ would transfer. If he wants to play professionally, I could see him leaving and going to Europe or the D league. He has had a lot of injuries and it just might make sense to focus on playing for pay even if not in the League.

    RJ is the one I could see transferring if he was a graduate. He has to learn a new system regardless. His father said he may want to finish playing closer to home. Who knows…they are kids.

  • Right, we won’t know what the roster looks like until possible May 24, unless any of the three make their decisions known sooner than that.

  • Right, was just going to say: Archie hasn’t done anything yet (at least publicly) except work with the hand he was dealt. And what a hand it is, in more than one way.

  • John D Murphy

    They do not get automatic invites to the combine. The combine is invitation only. Last year over 70 players were invited (and that did not include YF but did include TW). The combine invite list is made up from the votes of NBA teams.
    The players do receive an evaluation / grade / projection from the NBA. Players may also participate in individual team workouts (teams usually invite 3-5 guys per day). I believe these begin right after the combine is complete. The average NBA team will bring in 75-100+ players to work out. Last year the Jazz brought in over 200. However, most of these workouts will take place after the May 24 deadline. Not having an agent put the players in a real disadvantage to schedule these workouts. I imagine the pacers will give all our guys (and the 3 PU guys) the courtesy of an individual workout.

  • TheFailingNYT

    Even if he doesn’t plan or expect to play in the NBA after college, the feedback he’ll receive will be great for his prospects overseas and his overall development.

    It’s a great opportunity even if he has no intention of moving forward with the draft, he’d be crazy not to try.

  • John D Murphy

    I agree. That’s what I would do. And thought he would too. But not hiring an agent is not the best way down that path. An agent would have him in the right workout programs, trying to get individual workouts, invites to summer leagues etc… Summer NBA leagues are great ways to audition for overseas spots. The only benefit to not hiring an agent is to leave open the possibility of returning to school. I’m surprised by the move.

  • TheFailingNYT

    Their spots are theirs. No one can fill in behind them against their will.

  • TheFailingNYT

    You don’t think practicing and developing for a year under a defensive-minded coach could improve the most glaring weaknesses in JBJ’s game and subsequently improve his overall stock?

  • iugradmark

    It just may not be something he can do. He has had injuries going back to High School. He is an offensive minded player and has been his whole life. Unfortunately, expecting him to start over his final year and risk injury is not something I see him doing and am not sure he would be that effective. He seems like a really good kid and I am sad that his body doesn’t seem to be able to take the wear and tear of playing at this level.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I understand that, but it does complicate things for a coach/program if you have players who are “half in-half out” in their commitment. It could be that Archie knows each player’s real intent (to ultimately leave or just getting feedback) and that would simplify matters. But this new rule of being able to declare for the draft but still come back to college puts an added time crunch on programs who have scholarship offers and recruits out there and need to know how much of the roster needs filled.

  • iugradmark

    I hear you. I think normally a coach is involved with the decision and knows the kids and their families and probably has talked with some NBA teams to see where their kids sit.

    Archie, as a first year coach, is trying to fill his roster and look good to outsiders and is probably going to be pretty lenient. I do believe he has talked to these kids and their parents and has a pretty good feel for what they are really thinking.

    TB is still the biggest unknown to me. He could go either way but like others have said, if he was really pushing to go, he should have hooked up with an agent and focused on his workouts and getting invites.

  • Donnie Vick

    Tom Crean not having a job yet probably plays a factor, don’t you think? If he would have been hired right away by someone, you’d think some would want to play for him.

  • Michael Moeller

    NONE OF THESE GUYS ARE READY

  • PROBABLY NOT, BUT THAT’S WHY… Oops, sorry about that. Probably not, but that’s why the process is there — let the kids get a reasonable idea of their prospects so that they can make informed decisions. It’s a bummer for a program trying to establish its roster, but that’s the price you pay for having top quality talent on your team. And other things, but I want to keep this positive.

  • This whole thing demonstrates precisely why I like Archie’s idea of keeping scholarships under control to stay flexible. Better to have a scholarship or two free if a kid or two goes pro, and then go grab a transfer, than to have this insane situation of hoping “things just work out.”

  • Donnie Vick

    Part of me sees JBJ returning but the other part of me says he’s been looking at going pro ever since his freshman year and wants to get paid whether its in the D league or over in Europe.

  • iugradmark

    Just a bit curious but wonder if anyone knows whether these four were really close off the court. I am sure it was hard to have the guy recruit them get fired and on some level, they have to realize that for several of them, it was how they played that contributed to that. Probably not the best of year’s to play for IU.

  • I’ll go with RJ and TB return, Moore doesn’t come, nobody transfers, and JBJ goes pro one way or another. And that would be a pretty nice roster.

  • Seth

    Understand why all of them would go except Johnson, he has zero chance of being drafted. The other three shouid probably go. OG doesn’t need to get injured again and is a 1st round pick. Blackmon is what he is and next year won’t change that. I think the same is true for Bryant. He got exposed last year and if it happens next year he may not get drafted

  • Piker

    Good decision by all. Get advise from guys that don’t have any skin in your game and will be totally honest to you. I understand college coaches will give you their best advise but think they will lean to the positives. I see TB with the best shot, JBJ and RJ will either return or go overseas. D league is 26k a year compared to Euro ball at 60 to 100k. May as well get your degree play at IU or go across the pond. Do not see any good in transferring especially if they do not have their degree and have to sit a year.

  • RJ doesn’t need to have any chance of getting drafted. This is an opportunity for him to get feedback on what he needs to improve on next season, to position possibly for going after his senior year. Nobody loses anything by going into the process, except for OG who’s committed by hiring an agent.

  • iugradmark

    TB is still the odd one to me. I think you are right because if he wanted to go full-tilt and take a shot at the draft he would surely hire an agent. I am not sure it makes that much difference for JBJ. I think he ends up in D league. RJ is puzzling.

  • inLinE6

    I agree on RJ and TB. I think Moore would come and someone transfers. Or someone’s rich uncle pays the tuition and frees up a scholarship.

  • Actually RJ testing the waters makes sense to me. He’ll get feedback on what he needs to work on for next season and a very early idea of where he stands. And it’s at no cost to him.

  • inLinE6

    This process has to change somehow. While it’s good for the players to explore their options without losing eligibility, it’s hard on the program to manage rosters. With a situation of multiple players can either all leave or all come back, do you start recruiting new guys only to find out everybody comes back, or wait for them and everyone’s gone, and deal with a depleted roster? Or just tell recruits “I really want you, but you gotta wait for someone else to make a decision first”?

  • I actually question that assumption. I think it’s entirely possible that the players feel some of the things we feel.

  • Larry Brown

    In RJ’s case, maybe to be closer to family or play for a defending national champion ….

  • cbags05

    Well. All I did was ask a question. There is a reason on this Earth. I started the post asking if they will have a degree. Because…then they could transfer and get 2 more years of playing. You are correct that there have been no rumors of it. But I can only assume they are looking at ALL options. Especially RJ, who has not been spoken of much, and now all of a sudden is going to check out the NBA? IMO, If he has his degree, then transferring is his best chance at extending his playing career as long as possible. Even with CTC here this was a possibility.

    I am actually least concerned about TB. Because he will get terrible feedback and will have ample opportunity to raise his stock at IU next year….which he should under CM’s system.

  • Dan

    I’m sure they played their best. Crean did not help them get better. The Crean-run and gun, bad offense showcased their talent and weakness. Its just that they all have work to do before getting any real NBA playing time or big cash. Good luck- on to the next group of recruits

  • pcantidote

    I feel the same way about JBJ as I did Yogi after his junior year. JBJ’s dream is not to play in Europe. Even if he gets injured next year, JBJ can still carve out a career overseas. That is a given. What is not a given is his NBA potential. The only decision he has IMHO is to go all in for his senior year (kind of like a NFL player going into a contract year), silence the doubters, and put himself in a position to be drafted. I saw enough improvement on both ends of the floor this year from him to believe that is possible if he comes back.

  • iugradmark

    I just don’t see it for RJ. Nice college player but the things he needs (size, quickness, range) are not things he will be able to do. Perhaps he is able to go to Europe but I don’t see him making the leap to the League.

  • Dan

    Good luck all. Thanks for your best efforts last year. I really hope they make it in NBA someday. That 18-16 season was an amazing run watching all 4 young men excel on the court.

  • Mark Bando

    I can’t really see RJ in the NBA ever

  • MGDC

    In my view TB (not even considering RJ at this point because he just doesn’t have the skill or athletic talent to be a pro) has the most to loose by not coming back to IU. He has great potential if he gets to grow his game, especially on defensive end, and mature as a person. He goes pro and he becomes one of the many D league or overseas journeyman never to realize their potential. Would hate to see that. Be patient young man and let Archie and his staff develop your game and mind let them make you a star and a future top 15 pick.

  • Mark Bando

    Good points. I’m surprised too.