Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Thomas Bryant Enjoys Mizzou, Eyeing Springtime Decision
Thomas Bryant enjoyed his weekend official visit to Missouri and is eyeing a springtime decision, coach Oz Cross told SNY.tv Sunday.
“They’re going to go to Indiana next weekend and then him and his mom just gotta talk it out,” said Cross, who now works with New Heights but remains close with Bryant from his time with the PSA Cardinals. “They’re not in a rush to make a decision. They’re taking everything in right now.”
Bryant, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound big man from Huntington (W.V.) Prep, has now visited Syracuse and Missouri, with Indiana still left on the schedule Oct. 17-19. He is focusing on those three schools.
He visited Missouri along with guards Isaiah Briscoe and Antonio Blakeney on a weekend when the Tigers’ football team was bludgeoned by SEC rival Georgia, 34-0, and dropped out of the Top 25.
“I spoke to him [Saturday] before the game and he said he was having a good time,” Cross said. “He said he liked it. The coaching staff is good, they’re doing a good job recruiting him. They’re saying that they want to bring in a good class and compete, and that’s the biggest thing. He liked the practice, he thought the practice was really good. Obviously, they have to get some more players.”
Missouri hired former Huntington coach Rob Fulford as an assistant coach, and Fulford already helped the program bring in former Huntington Prep star Montaque “Teki” Gill-Caesar, who reclassed to 2014 and will be a freshman this season.
“It’s extremely attractive, [Bryant] has a great relationship with [Fulford], had one when he was here,” Huntington coach Arkell Bruce previously told SNY.tv. “Respects him a lot. That’s the only reason he’s considering Missouri.”
If Missouri were able to land some combination of Bryant, Briscoe and Blakeney, Bruce said, “It would be one of the top recruiting classes.”
Wherever Bryant goes, he has a huge upside going forward.
“His best days are ahead of him,” Bruce said. “He just turned 17 a couple months ago, so he’s a young pup. Still figuring it out. Long, 7-foot-6 wingspan so he has the potential to make money at basketball one day. But he’s not going to rely on that because he’s a very smart kid.”
He added: “He needs to work on his core strength which we do with him. But he also needs to refine his post skills like all young big men. He’s shooting the ball way better, out to 23 feet. He’s shooting the 3 easy, mid-range, he’s really shooting the ball great. Finishing with both hands. But strength is the main thing [he has to work on], being able to absorb contact and finish.”
A spring decision seems most likely.
“Nothing’s definite, but as of right now he’s leaning toward the spring,” Cross said.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.