Syracuse basketball has four players committed as part of their 2015 class, but that doesn’t mean they are done this cycle. Four-star center Thomas Bryant is a big priority to round out an impressive haul. He took an official visit over the weekend to get a better feel for the Orange.
”I liked it a lot,” Bryant said. “I got to see the coaches and hang out with some of the teammates. I got to really see what Syracuse was all about from an academics and athletics side. I really liked it. It was very welcoming. Definitely feel like they set up all of their players to be successful.
”I saw that when I was with them. Then with the academics, they’re always there for the team. You don’t go without anything.”
Bryant spent a lot of time with assistant coach Mike Hopkins and head coach Jim Boeheim during his visit. He says it was great to discuss their vision for how he fits into what Syracuse does on and off the court.
”It was great, you know,” Bryant said. “We talked to each other about how I would fit into their program and into their offense and defense. What kind of a role I would be playing. It was something I could see myself fitting into.
”Just try to come in and make a big impact for the team. Just playing my role and helping the team. I really liked what they had to say.”
One of the highlights of the visit was spending time with current Syracuse players. That includes two that he has been teammates with in the past.
”I got to hang around Rakeem Christmas, Chino (Chinonso Obokoh) my old teammate and Chris McCullough from my old AAU team,” Bryant said. “It was great. They respected me like family. They treated me like I’ve been there for a long time, which I really liked when I was there. When we talked, they were completely honest with me and I was completely honest with them.
”Almost every sentence they said they were like ‘you need to come to Syracuse.’ It was good seeing Chino with the past history we have. Winning a state championship together, we were always close and we still are now. It was good hanging out with him and knowing that he wants to play with me again.”
While spending time with former AAU teammate Chris McCullough, Bryant noticed the development of the five-star forward’s game.
”He loves it,” Bryant said. “He said it was the best decision for him. He’s improved a lot from what I saw. When he was shooting and working out a little bit. Then from what the coaches told me. He’s improved a lot. He’s going to be a big part of what they do this year.”
While the visit went very well for the Huntington Prep standout, he admitted that committing was not on his mind.
”I wasn’t trying to focus on that,” Bryant said. “I was trying to take in all of the information I can get. Just asking questions that came to mind. Seeing how I could fit into it there. How this would fit for me.
”How it would be playing there and fitting into that program at Syracuse and playing for that basketball team.”
Even though he did not commit, he still has Syracuse as one of his top options. He declined to name a favorite at this point, and isn’t looking to officially decide until the spring.
”They stand very high,” Bryant said. “They’re one of the schools that I get along with a lot for me going to college. They’re standing pretty high.”