His team had been knocked out of the Dick’s Sporting Goods high school national championship, but Thomas Bryant had one more splash to make in New York City. Saturday afternoon, the top-25 recruit announced his commitment to play next season at IU.
Bryant, a 6-foot-10 forward from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, narrowed his college choices to IU and Syracuse in November. Before that, he was also considering Missouri and Kentucky.
“I just wanted to come here and be on TV and say that I’m committing to Indiana to play college basketball next year,” Bryant said on ESPN. “I’m very excited. I’ve been thinking about this long and hard. I’ve been talking it over with my mom and coaches. We just felt like being at Indiana was the best decision for me.”
He is the No. 27 recruit in the country, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
The 2015 McDonald’s All-American averaged 17.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 2.5 steals per game last season. He visited IU in March and said he enjoyed his time in Bloomington.
He could provide an instant solution to IU’s size problem, but projects as more of a finesse post player than an under-the-basket bruiser.
“Thomas is a very skilled four man with great length and athleticism,” his ESPN.com scouting report reads. “He can put it on the floor and shoot it with range to 17 feet ... he plays mostly in the paint but the skills are definitely there to be able to step out.”
But the start of Bryant’s IU career signals the end of another Hoosier’s. Per NCAA rules, a Division I men’s basketball program is allowed 13 scholarships per season. The transfers of Stanford Robinson and Max Hoetzel trimmed IU’s committed scholarships down to 13 for next season, but now the Hoosiers are over the limit again.
To fit Bryant into the roster, at least one scholarship member of the squad will have to leave the program.
Bryant becomes the third member of IU’s 2015 recruiting class, joining forwards Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby. Each of IU’s last five recruiting classes has included a McDonald’s All-American.