Jordan Wells / TheHoosier.com
With the offseason underway, TheHoosier.com will review each IU player's 2016-17 season.
We continue the series with a look at sophomore center Thomas Bryant.
Averaged 12.8 points and team-leading 6.6 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per game ... Total and average playing time each ranked third on the team ... Also shot 51.9 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from 3-point range ... Started in all 34 of Indiana's games last season, scoring in double figures in 20 of them ... Also tallied seven double-doubles ... Led the team in blocks with 52 and added 26 steals defensively.
Season In Review
After a freshman season in which he shot a program-record 68.3 percent from the field, Bryant earned Preseason All-American recognition from Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and NBCSports.com. However, despite those accolades, Bryant had a somewhat underwhelming sophomore campaign.
The Rochester, New York native improved statistically in points, assists and rebounds per game, but his field goal percentage regressed to 51.9 percent. He also appeared to play further away from the paint compared to his first season in Bloomington, attempting four times the number of threes.
Bryant emerged strongly in IU junior guard James Blackmon Jr.'s three-game absence in Big Ten play, averaging 21.7 points and 9.7 rebounds between Jan. 29 and Feb. 5. This included a career-high 31 points in a triple overtime home win over Penn State on Feb. 1, but Bryant's big nights didn't always translate to wins as the Hoosiers went 1-2 during that stretch.
Bryant also became more involved in the offense of the course of the entire conference season, especially late. Using advanced statistics from KenPom.com helps explain this.
Looking at his percent of possible shots taken used - KenPom describes this metric as "the percentage of a team’s shots taken while the player is on the court" - Bryant accounted for at 22 least percent in 12 of the Hoosiers' 18 Big Ten games compared to five of their 13 non-conference games.
Percent of possessions used - KenPom utilizes this metric to describe a player's role in the offense by explaining how the number of his team's possessions the player is "personably responsible for ending while he is on the floor" - is also useful in illustrating Bryant's place within the offense. According to KenPom, Bryant used 22.6 percent, third-most among IU's significant contributors, or players who used 20-24 percent of possible possessions. For reference, Blackmon used 23.1 percent while freshman forward De'Ron Davis led the Hoosiers with 24.1 percent.
Bryant's efforts earned him Third Team All-Big Ten honors from conference coaches.
On April 11, Bryant officially declared for the NBA Draft but chose not to hire an agent, leaving the door open for him to return to school if he so chooses.
Bryant will test the NBA Draft waters, and his pro prospects have changed quite a bit since the end of the 2015-16 season.
DraftExpress.com's April 12 mock draft projects Bryant to go to the Charlotte Hornets in the second round as the No. 41 overall pick, 33 spots lower than where it had him slotted after his freshman season according to his mock draft history on the site. The outlet also ranks Bryant No. 43 in its Top 100 player rankings for the draft.
NBADraft.net, on the other hand, doesn't expect Bryant to get drafted. He's not included among the 60 projected picks in the website's April 12 mock draft, and analyst Aran Smith has him 84th on his big board of Top 100 players.
Furthermore, ESPN NBA Draft analyst Chad Ford has Bryant at No. 50 in his Top 100 player rankings. Ford doesn't include Bryant in his April 4 mock draft, but his projections only cover picks 1-30.
Most analysts expect Bryant to be a mid- to late-second round pick or go undrafted. Only first-round picks get guaranteed contracts, so there's an element of risk involved if Bryant decides to stay. Former IU guard Yogi Ferrell successfully navigated that path last year, eventually earned his way onto the Dallas Mavericks' roster.
Because Bryant declared and didn't sign with an agent, he has until May 24 to withdraw his name from consideration and return to school or stay in the draft.
Could another year in school - a year in new IU head coach Archie Miller's system - return Bryant to a projected lottery pick? That's likely the biggest question during this process for Bryant, who will take a risk regardless of whether he comes back or stays.
Previous Postseason Player Reviews:
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