In the months leading up to the 2015-16 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a look at the first freshman to enter the list and second Big Ten newcomer, Indiana's Thomas Bryant. The Hoosiers will look to Bryant to contribute right away and be the Hoosiers' dominating presence in the low post, which is an area where the team has struggled as of late.
'BTP 25' #22- Thomas Bryant
- Eligibility: Freshman
- Career Totals: N/A
- 2014-2015 Averages: N/A
- Position Role: Center-Power Forward
The New York native was a major prospect in the 2015 recruiting class and received attention from several major programs including Florida, Missouri, Ohio State, and Syracuse among others. The frontcourt has been a bit underwhelming for the Hoosiers in recent years and with no proven option upfront, landing Bryant was imperative for Indiana to get back to the top of the Big Ten. Of course, ultimately, they landed his commitment, putting the crowing touches on what should be a fantastic recruiting class in Bloomington.
Though the Indiana Hoosiers were nowhere near making it to the Final Four in 2015, Tom Crean and staff did earn a huge victory during Final Four weekend landing highly-touted recruit Thomas Bryant. Standing at 6-foot, 10-inches, Bryant fills the Hoosier's desperate need for a tall presence on the floor. As an added bonus, Bryant had been given the nod as an athletic, "above-the-rim" player, which fits perfectly with Crean's system of creating as many possessions in a game as possible.
Areas For Improvement
During his recruitment, Bryant showed flashes of a mid-range game, but it has been noted that consistency from 15-feet and out needs to improve. Bryant is also a lean 6'10" weighing in at 230 lbs. It remains to be seen if the summer and preseason months are enough time for Bryant to bulk up in preparation for the physical battles he will face, especially during conference play.
Fortunately for Bryant, Indiana's terrific talent outside the perimeter will help to alleviate pressure down low. Bryant will certainly have the necessity of moving without the ball in IU's offense drilled into his head in the preseason, eliminating one of his projected weak spots. Expect gaudy numbers from Bryant in the early season against the cupcakes on IU's schedule and some early season struggles in the stretch where the Hoosiers travel to Maui and then to Duke. But if Bryant can add some low-post moves to his repertoire and knock down mid-range shots consistently, he will find himself in the middle of the Big Ten Freshman of The Year conversation among the terrific class that the Big Ten offers this upcoming season.
'BT Powerhouse 25' Rankings:
- Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #25 - Kendrick Nunn (Illinois)
- #24 - Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern)
- #22 (tie) Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland)
- #22 (tie) - Thomas Bryant (Indiana)
- #21 - To be continued...