He’s found a home in the nation’s capital as a pro.
After being the 42nd pick of the Utah Jazz in the 2017 NBA draft, former Indiana Hoosier Thomas Bryant was quickly traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the City of Angels, a rocky start ensued as a rookie. Bryant appeared in just 15 games and averaged 1.5 points a game. He also spent significant time in the G-League and was waved the following summer.
Fortunately for Bryant, the Washington Wizards claimed him off waivers a few days later. The change of teams and Bryant’s own persistence paid off in his second season.
Bryant said a good attitude and belief will help you succeed in the long run.
“Try and stay positive with your work,” Bryant said. “The work always shows no matter if it’s early, no matter if it’s late. It’s going to be a long tough road, but you always have to stay positive and know that your time is always going to come.”
Bryant’s time has come with the Wizards. He averaged 10.5 points a game and 6.6 rebounds while starting 53 of the 72 games he played in during the 2018-2019 season.
The current 2019-2020 season has seen him rise to even higher levels. Through seven games he has started each one and is averaging 13.6 points and 9.9 rebounds.
Despite his success, Bryant said he is still just attempting to carve out his niche at the pinnacle of basketball. And his advice to anyone trying to follow his lead is that there is no substitute for hard work.
“I’m still working to try to make it big in the NBA,” he said. “Always have a real great work ethic. Just always try to work as hard as you can day in and day out and always believe in yourself.”
Before succeeding in professional basketball, it all began as a Hoosier for Bryant.
“I ended up at IU through a long recruiting process with coach (Tom) Crean,” he said. “I felt real connected with everyone there.”
It ended up being a match made in heaven, as Bryant helped lead the Cream and Crimson to a Big Ten Title his freshman season in 2015-2016. As the starting center he averaged 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds.
That season also included a Sweet 16 appearance after knocking out rival Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In that game, Bryant scored 19 points and hit the game-sealing free throws with 10 seconds left.
After a strong sophomore season at IU, Bryant declared for the draft.
Then, on Wednesday night, almost three years since his last game as a Hoosier, Bryant returned to Indiana to play the Pacers, where he received an ovation when introduced in the opposing team starting lineup.
He said he is glad to return to the state of his alma mater, which breathes and respects the game so much.
“It feels good to be back around the friends and the guys I spent a lot of time in college with,” he said. “It feels good to be back in the state where real basketball started and you got the most love.”
In this homecoming game Bryant had a terrific night, scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while recording a double-double. However, the Wizards fell to the Pacers 121-106.
With a long basketball future ahead of him, Bryant said he is doing the best he can everyday and hopes to continue to succeed.
“It’s a blessing to put on this uniform,” he said. “My future plan is always just trying to keep building and help this team win as many games as they can.”
Here is the full video of my interview with Thomas Bryant: