There’s good news when it comes to Thomas Bryant, and it comes from an unlikely source. His mom. Next year’s basketball class is already one of the best in the nation. And the only piece missing from a “Fab Five” is Thomas Bryant, a 6-foot-10 center out of Rochester. The #16 recruit in the class of 2015 has narrowed his choices down to Syracuse and Indiana. According to his mother, Bryant is leaning toward the Orange. She told Syracuse.com on Wednesday:
“Really it’s down to two, Syracuse and Indiana. And it might be down to one soon. Thomas has always told me that Syracuse was the leader.”
One reason Bryant may choose Orange is Indiana’s turmoil. Head coach Tom Crean and many of the players have made the news for the wrong reasons in the past few months. It doesn’t help that Indiana seems to be on a decline. The Hoosier faithful have been calling for the firing of Crean for what feels like forever, and the shine has come off that once-storied program. It certainly helps the Orange that of all the college basketball blue-bloods, it’s Indiana he’s been attracted to. North Carolina, Duke and Kansas just keep humming along. In Indiana’s conference, Michigan State is always in the Final Four conversation. In Bloomington, it’s a historic program in the middle of one of its darkest periods. The Crean Watch is always on, a daily clock ticking in Hoosier Land.
Bryant would join a recruiting class that could go down as the best in Syracuse history. Malachi Richardson, a skilled guard/forward combo out of New Jersey, headlines the class. In addition, Moustapha Diagne and Tyler Lydon are a pair of 6-foot-8 forwards that recently signed with the Orange. Franklin Howard is the fourth member of the class, and despite being the lowest rated player, will provide some much-needed relief in the backcourt.
Bryant would become the highest rated prospect in the class and would ultimately become the headliner for the freshmen. With the departure of Rakeem Christmas at the end of this season, the Orange will desperately need some depth at the middle of the zone. If current freshman Chris McCullough leaves for the NBA, Syracuse will need as much depth and scoring as it can get. The two big men currently lead the team in scoring by a wide margin.
The biggest problem for the Orange right now is the lack of available scholarships. SU has the maximum number of scholarships allotted for next season, so the only way that Bryant could join the team is if a player left early or transferred. The leading candidate is McCullough, who is having a great start to his collegiate career.
With the Orange being unranked for the first time since 2009, Boeheim could use a dynamite class to launch his program back into title considerations. Bryant is the piece that could push it over the top.
Posted: Jason Weingold