Bryant names top six

Thomas Bryant is starting to focus on recruiting a little more now that his junior season is complete. He tells CuseNation.com he has a top six as he discusses developing his game, relationship with Syracuse and more.

Thomas Bryant is one of the most talented players in the 2015 class. He transferred from Bishop Kearney in Rochester (N.Y.) to Huntington Prep in West Virginia for his junior season, where he was able to play against better competition.

"It went real good," Bryant said. "We had our ups and downs during the first part of the season, but the second part of the season was great. In terms of myself, I was just doing what my teammates needed me to do. Whether it's rebounding, defense or scoring. Just motivating guys and playing together.

"This past year helped me a lot. Learning how to play again better players, made a better player personally. There are some great players out there that keep improving. Playing against them helps me improve too."

The five star center is planning to play for Team Scan during the AAU circuit this summer. He is hoping he can add even more elements to his game during that highly competitive time period.

"I want to take things in the weight room more seriously," Bryant said. "I've gotten stronger the last few months here. But I still have to continue to stronger within the game of basketball. Plus my post game too and work a little more on the outside and getting more consistent with shots."

Bryant has spent most of his time over the last year focused on his game and helping his team. He has, however, looked at recruiting a little bit in order to have six schools he is focused on.

"I have a top six," Bryant said. "The top six would be Kansas, Ohio State, Syracuse, Florida, North Carolina and hopefully Kentucky. With Kentucky it's if they offer. They're all even at this point. Once we get into the AAU season and stuff, I'll start looking at which ones I like better."

Bryant added that he would like to decide before the start of his senior year, but won't force it if he's not feeling ready. He is planning on visiting Syracuse, Ohio State and Kansas this summer.

The school he says he has the best relationship with is Syracuse. He admits his relationship with any of the coaching staffs in his top six is not overly strong, but he is most familiar with the Orange, simply because of their proximity when he was at Bishop Kearney.

"Syracuse stays in touch with my all the time," Bryant said. "Every couple of weeks I hear from them. They came up to visit me last Wednesday just to keep recruiting me and make sure I'm hearing from them."

Bryant attended a few games during this past season, and has done so dozens of times over the years. One of the offseason story lines he was paying attention to was the Mike Hopkins saga. Ultimately, Hopkins stayed with Syracuse.

"That helps them a lot," Bryant said. "I love coach Hopkins. He's a great coach and I'm real comfortable with him. Him still being there is good because if I went there I would want to be coached by him even though Jim Boeheim is there. That definitely helps them."

Besides his relationship with the staff, the 6-foot-10 center has a relationship with one of the players on the Orange. Freshman center Chinonso Obokoh is a former high school teammate at Bishop Kearney.

"We stay in touch," Bryant said. "We don't talk like every day, but we text and keep each other updated on what's going on. We don't really talk about recruiting stuff just how he's doing and things like that."

Bryant says Chino enjoyed his first year at Syracuse and is poised for a larger role next season.

"He's liked it a lot," Bryant said. "Even though he was sitting out this year, he's continued to improve and he knows his role. He's learning a lot from Mike (Hopkins) and Jim (Boeheim) and he'll be ready to go next year.

"He's done that at Kearney (high school) and done that other places. I'm pretty sure he's ready to take on more minutes and do what Boeheim wants him to do."

There is a potential that Obokoh and Bryant could be in a competition for the starting center position if the five-star center chooses Syracuse. That would take them back to their high school days.

"That would be a nice little battle right there," Bryant said. "It was how we used to battle at Kearney a lot. He's a good player and I'm a good player. At the end of the day, we'll both do what we have to do."

So who would win if that battle were to take place at the Carmelo Anthony Center as Syracuse prepared for the 2015-16 season?

"Oh man, I don't know about that one," Bryant said. "Chino's got a couple of years of college behind him at that point so he'd probably get me. But I could see us two playing together at the back of the zone.

"He knows how I like to play and I know how he likes to play. He's a shot blocker and I'm a rebounder. We could together on offense too and have some fun."


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