Well, after a ton of speculation, changes in the wind, the tea leaves shifting from right to left (I don’t know how tea leaves work), it looks like coveted center prospect Thomas Bryant will be making his college decision, probably within the next week. Specifically, after the conclusion of the Dick’s Nationals, which run April 2-4 in New York City.
The general vibe surrounding Bryant’s recruitment has been that Syracuse has fallen from the leader of the pack into second or third place, with Indiana positioning itself at or near the top of his list. Bryant recently took a visit to Indiana and seemingly enjoyed his visit, while Kentucky, another top contender for his services, has failed to gain much ground. Then again, Kentucky and Indiana are both still actively pursuing super-recruit Thon Maker, a guy who is a mortal lock to be the top pick in the NBA Draft as soon as he’s eligible, which muddies the whole recruitment of Bryant.
Bryant, a McDonald’s All-America selection from Rochester, played his high school ball at Huntington Prep in West Virginia. The 6-foot-10 center is ranked No. 22 in ESPN’s top 100 list, and is one of the most high profile players still available in the class of 2015. For awhile there was a lot of confusion – including my own – regarding whether or not Syracuse would even be able to bring in Thomas Bryant, but particularly with the departures of BJ Johnson and Buss Patterson, and with a forthcoming appeal putting a hold on any NCAA sanctions, the consensus seems to be that there is now room at the inn for Bryant.
As it currently stands, the finalists for Bryant’s services are Syracuse, Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri. Missouri seems to be the outlier here, but is certainly not a program to be dismissed considering that the Tigers hired former Huntington Prep – yes, the same school where Bryant played his high school ball – head coach Rob Fulford as an assistant last summer. That makes Missouri a program very much in play.
The website 247sports.com currently has its crystal ball reading that Syracuse is in the lead, just ahead of Indiana, but obviously that’s a lot of speculation. If Syracuse is able to land Bryant, one thing is for sure: he very well could be the final piece in the puzzle for a Final Four run in 2015-16.