Big news -- and possibly shocking news -- for Indiana basketball fans this morning. Thomas Bryant will return to Indiana for his sophomore season and not even test the waters of the NBA Draft, per Evan Daniels.
Thomas Bryant will return to Indiana for his sophomore season, per a source. Won't test NBA waters. Averaged 11.8 & 5.8 as a freshman.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 7, 2016
It's certainly a surprise that Bryant, who was listed as a first round pick on many mock drafts this offseason, won't even test out the NBA waters with the new rules. There seemed to be no drawback for players entering the Draft and then returning to school after the NBA Combine, but Bryant's keeping his word that he intended to stay at Indiana for at least two seasons when he committed to Tom Crean's program last year.
It's huge for a team that now should have one of the top frontcourts in the Big Ten -- or even the country -- next season with the addition of freshman De'Ron Davis. Indiana's only remaning NBA decision now lies with Troy Williams, who Justin Albers reported last week is leaning toward going through the process without an agent -- and thus leaving the door open for a return. It's certainly one step in the right direction of validating the way-too-early polls -- which all seemingly consider the Hoosiers to be a Top-12 team next season.
UPDATE: It's now official from Indiana basketball. Bryant will return and not enter the draft, per this release.
BLOOMINGTON, Indiana - Indiana University men's basketball playerThomas Bryant has announced he will return to the Hoosiers for his sophomore season and not declare for the 2016 NBA Draft.
"Being a part of IU basketball is special and I'm excited to continue my development as a person and as a basketball player under Coach Crean," said Bryant. "The bond I have with my teammates and coaches is strong. Our plan is to continue to work hard and build off of the many great things we did last year and add to the tradition here."
Bryant was a third-team All-Big Ten selection after averaging 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds. He also led the Big Ten when he shot 68.3% from the field. In the NCAA Tournament, he averaged 14.7 points in three games and had 19 points and five boards in the Hoosiers win over #10 Kentucky in the round of 32. He also was a member of the Big Ten All-Freshman team and twice this season was Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
The 6-10 center is a native of Rochester, N.Y. and came to IU from Huntington Prep.