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‘BT Powerhouse 25’ - #7 Thomas Bryant

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BTPowerhouse's staff counts down the best players in the Big Ten heading into the 2016-’17 season.

Indiana v Kentucky Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In the months leading up to the 2016-’17 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 brief look at Thomas Bryant of Indiana, who came in at No. 7 in the rankings. The Hoosiers are happy to have the former/future first round draft pick back on the quest to repeat as Big Ten champs.

'BTPowerhouse 25' - #7 Thomas Bryant:

  • Eligibility: Sophomore
  • Career Totals: 11.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.0 APG
  • 2015-16 Averages: 11.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.0 APG
  • Positional Role: Center

If I ruled the world (it’s probably best I don’t), I’d have Thomas Bryant in my top 3 on this list. Alas, I’ve been out voted. Nevertheless, I’m high on Bryant’s skills, his ceiling, and his tremendous enthusiasm for the game.

Player Strengths

I love the below compilation. It showcases all of Bryant’s strengths on the offensive end: strong finishing moves, instinctual rolls to the basket, offensive rebounding tenacity, ability to run on the break, and a soft delicate touch around the rim. Plus, just watch how much fun he has throwing down thunderous dunks.

Offensively, Bryant was a force last season. The advanced metrics tell the story: 1st in the Big Ten in True Shooting Percentage, 6th in Offensive Rebound Percentage, 8th in Offensive Win Shares, and 4th in Win Shares Per 40 Minutes. But the most telling advanced stat is his whopping 130.0 Offensive Rating, second in the conference only to Bryn Forbes and his 48% 3-Point shooting.

When Bryant was on the floor, running pick and rolls with Yogi Ferrell and cleaning up the offensive glass, not too many teams could stop Indiana.

Areas For Improvement

Consistency. This is often a concern with freshman phenoms, the best of whom usually struggle to find a rhythm right away. Even still, far too many times last season Bryant’s minutes were limited due to foul trouble or inconsistent play. Even his national coming out party, 19 points/5 boards/2 steals against Kentucky, started slowly after he picked up a couple early fouls. He needs to stay in control and dominant the game without fouling.

And he has to get better defensively. He’s shown a serious knack for following plays on defense and laying down an unexpected block. But he didn’t even rate in the top 10 in Defensive Rebound Percentage in the Big Ten, and he finished with less rebounds per game than players like Denzel Valentine and Brandon Taylor, guys four/five inches shorter than him.

Indiana will look for him to clog the lane more and make their opponents doubt ever testing him.

Player Projection

This is an interesting case. Ordinarily, I’d say the sky’s the limit with a player like this, especially one which I’m so personally enamored with. But point guard is a mystery position for Tom Crean’s team this year and it will be curious to watch who can get Bryant the ball on a consistent basis. He has all the skills and drive and enthusiasm to continue taking his game to the next level. The question is whether or not the team can grow with him.

With two of his teammates already featured in our Top 25 previews, we certainly think there will be enough talent for Indiana to have a shot at repeating. So let’s get them on the court already and find out.

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'BTPowerhouse 25' Rankings: