The 6-foot-10 highly recruited Thomas Bryant showed this season that he could shine as a center in the Big Ten. He averaged 11.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and he shot 68.3 percent from the field (third in the country in overall field goal percentage). Bryant was the best low-post player for the Hoosiers this year because of his ability to finish. Indiana liked to shoot the ball from deep, but they also liked to let Bryant work in the paint. Bryant even hit five threes on the season, which is rather impressive seeing that is not really his shot.
The Hoosiers made it to the Sweet 16 and Bryant was a big reason why. He scored in double-figures during every NCAA tournament game, and he really showed how good he is against the Kentucky Wildcats. He had 19 points against Kentucky and he was clutch down the stretch by making huge free-throws. In that game, Bryant displayed his full offensive repertoire. He showed that he can knock down the mid-range shot and he showed that he has impressive footwork on the offensive end. One thing he must improve on is his rim-protection and defense. He is not a terrible protector, but he is not great. He only averaged 0.9 BPG, which is unacceptable for a player as athletic as Bryant.
All in all, he had a great freshmen campaign for the Hoosiers and if he decides to leave early for the NBA, where will he be drafted?
Bryant's Draft Outlook
Bryant will probably at least go to the NBA Draft Combine due to the new rule that allows players to declare for the draft and come back to school if they please. They have until 10 days after the combine to decide whether they want to go back to school or stay in the draft. Bryant right now is looking like a top 10 pick in the 2017 NBA Mock draft, which is next year's mock draft. If he left this year for the NBA, he would probably be a top 20 pick.
Bryant would be a good fit on a lot of NBA teams because he can stretch the floor with his ability to knock down the mid-range and sometimes the deep ball. If he can develop an outside shot, he will be a very good NBA player because he already has a polished inside offensive game. His defense must improve for the next level, especially his rim-protection. He does have the speed and strength to cover power forwards and centers, but he needs to become a better shot-blocker.
One interesting aspect of Bryant's game that the NBA will love is the fact that he can bring the ball up the floor in transition. Many NBA teams are looking for point forwards and Bryant is not the ideal point forward, but he does have the ability to take it to the hole on his own in transition. Bryant is a very intriguing NBA prospect.
Thomas Bryant is going to be in the NBA one day as a power forward or center, but it probably won't be next year. He might declare and get some feedback, but in the end he will probably return to school. Bryant should return to school for one more year to become one of the best players in the Big Ten on offense and to improve his defensive game.
Bryant could be a lottery pick in next year's NBA draft and if he left this year, he would also likely be a first round pick. Bryant has a bright future.