2015 Intro: Thomas Bryant

HAMPTON, Va. – When the first class of 2015 rankings are released later this year, it's a safe bet Thomas Bryant's name will be near the top.

A 6-foot-9, 200-pound prospect from Rochester (N.Y.) Bishop Kearney High School, Bryant's unique combination of athleticism and length has college coaches salivating from afar.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches from calling players until after their sophomore season so, for now, Bryant is simply working on his game and trying to improve every day.

A part of that adjustment, he said, is learning how to use his body. Bryant grew three inches over the last year, and his doctors say he should continue to grow over the next year.

"Our coaches do a great job and know where to put me and how to set me up," he said. "I really just try to work hard with my team, distribute the ball, work on the boards, whatever it takes. I just want to win."

Playing with Team Scan's 15U squad, Bryant dominates in the paint. Defensively, he changes shots with his length and shows great timing and patience while blocking shots.

"He can be as good as he wants to be," Team Scan head coach Oz Cross said. "He could be someone that we could watch on television in a few years. He's very coachable, he's humble and he loves to play. He's just a joy to coach."

He uses his frame to grab rebounds most players can't get to. Offensively, he runs the court well and is an excellent finisher around the basket.

"I'm more of an isolation person," he said. "I can play with my back to the basket or I can face-up, but I like to face-up more. If I can get the ball in a one-on-one situation, I'll mostly get to the basket. But, if the help defense comes, I'm able to find my teammates for an open shot."

Cross thinks his best quality, however, is his motor.

"He just plays hard," he said. "That's a skill – especially for big guys – that a lot of people don't expect in this day and age. He's mean, he's aggressive, he can shoot it and has a nice little jump hook. But, he just plays hard and that's important. When the kids see him playing hard, they play hard. When you have one of your better players that gives it all, it makes everyone else better."

Bryant said his favorite players are Kevin Durant and LeBron James, and that he grew up watching footage of stars like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. What he likes about those four, above all, is their versatility.

"They can play any position on the court at any time," he said. "They can get their team back from a deficit, dominate the game without scoring and do anything on the court that's needed to get the win. That's all I'm about – winning."

UNC assistant coach Steve Robinson watched Bryant on Saturday at the EYBL event. Still more than three years away from enrolling in a college, Bryant hasn't started thinking about recruiting or the recruiting process.

"I'm just worried about school and basketball," he said.

Added Cross: "There's a bunch of people obviously interested in him and coming to the games. We just try to shelter him from that because – he's going to be able to, honestly, go to whatever school he wants to. We just want him to work hard, develop and then by his junior year he and his mom will decide what are some of the better fits."

Thomas Bryant Profile

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