Huntington Prep was eliminated from the DICK’S Nationals on Friday but star Thomas Bryant had some more business to attend to in New York City.
Bryant came to Madison Square Garden on Saturday and announced on ESPN during the fourth quarter that he was committing to Indiana University.
“I just wanted to come here and be on TV and say I will be committing to Indiana University to play college basketball next year,” said Bryant, a 6-10 five-star forward. “I’m very excited.”
Bryant, a McDonald’s All American and New York state native, had been down to Syracuse and Indiana, although his mother had previously expressed public reservations about Syracuse. That was before the school was hit with scholarship reductions.
Bryant, who scored nine points in the McDonald’s game, visited IU in early March on an official visit. He previously was on the Bloomington campus in mid-October.
“I’ve been thinking about this long and hard and talking to my mom and my coaches and thought Indiana was the best decision for me,” he said.
Bryant would fill an obvious need for the Hoosiers inside, given their lack of post depth. Coach Tom Crean has brought McDonald’s All American forwards to Indiana twice recently, Cody Zeller in 2011 and Noah Vonleh in 2013.
“He’s a versatile forward,” Huntington coach Arkell Bruce told The Indianapolis Star last fall. “He can shoot it, stretch the court. (He’s) 6-11, long, athletic, what guys look for. … He can also put it on the floor a little bit.”
At the McDonald’s game, Bryant said that Indiana was recruiting him the hardest — “they send me a lot of damn letter,” he said — and added that he had not heard from coaches at Syracuse and Kentucky in two months.
“I loved the Indiana visit,” he said. “Seeing all those guys, they all accepted me when I walked in, and it was like a family atmosphere there. Great fans always come out and support. It was really nice. … They need that one big man in the paint right there with them. If they get that, they could be a real good team down in the long run.”