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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 9:40 pm

Former Hoosier Bryant on G League 1st team

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Thomas Bryant earned a significant honor in his first season of pro basketball Wednesday, as the NBA G League announced he is a member of its First Team, the top five performers in the league this season.

This is well-deserved for Bryant, who was dominant at center for the South Bay Lakers, the G League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant averaged close to 20 points per game, eclipsing that number on 19 occasions and dropping 30 four times. For comparison, he scored 20 points just four times in his final season at Indiana and 30 just once, in a similar number of games (37 this season, 34 at IU). 

Significantly for his career going forward, Bryant shot almost 60 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the 3-point line. If he can become a credible 3-point threat, as he has been this season, he could find his way into a role with the NBA's Lakers next year.

The former Indiana center also averaged 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, showing that he's improving as a rim protector, as well. In my mind, he needed to get stronger after leaving Indiana, as he was often bullied down low by wider Big Ten centers. He seems to have done that this season and has clearly not been intimidated by the G League. 

The G League First Team this year is a who's who of college stars from the last half-decade. Former NC State standout Lorenzo Brown won the league's MVP Award, while Iowa State's Georges Niang and former Duke guard Quinn Cook also earned spots. Former Michigan guard Trey Burke made the league's Third Team, while Wisconsin product Nigel Hayes joined Bryant on the All-Rookie Team.