Indiana freshman center Thomas Bryant has decided against entering this year’s NBA draft, sources told Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The 6’10” 18-year-old had been a first-round prospect, coming in 23rd in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and 26th with Chad Ford of ESPN.com. He figures to improve his stock with another year in college, as Givony has him eighth in his 2017 mock draft.
The relative youth of the Rochester, New York, native raised concern for one NBA executive, who told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv he doesn’t think Bryant is physically ready for the NBA. Still, it’s somewhat surprising that he didn’t at least enter the draft to go through workouts and the combine and gauge his stock, since prospects can do so and still retain their college eligibility if they withdraw from the draft by May 25th and refrain from hiring an agent. That said, prospects can only “test the waters” twice before they become automatically draft-eligible, so if Bryant had entered and withdrawn from the draft this year and again next year, he could be drafted after his junior year, ready or not.
Bryant was No. 25 in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index last year, but the Hoosiers limited his playing time this season to some degree as he averaged just 22.6 minutes per game. He posted 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per outing with 68.3% shooting.