Where do Bryant, Anunoby sit on early 2017 draft boards? #iubb

The 2017 NBA Draft is a full calendar year away, but a couple Hoosiers are already being hyped as potential first-round targets.

Sophomores Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby are both viewed as top tier talents in many of the way-too-early draft projections for 2017. Here’s where the budding IU stars are positioned entering the 2016-17 season:

ESPN’s Chad Ford ranks Bryant the No. 19 draft prospect in 2017, while Anunoby is slotted at No. 24. Ford gave both players a mid-to-first round grade.

In DraftExpress.com’s 2017 mock draft, Bryant is the No. 7 pick and Anunoby is off the board at No. 22.

At Sports Illustrated, Jeremy Woo compiled a list of the top 15 draft talents for next summer. Bryant is No. 10.

“After making strides at the end of last season, Bryant boasted top–20 upside but opted to stay in Bloomington another year. He would have been quite young for his class had he gone, and a consistent year for the Hoosiers would benefit his stock. Bryant has a 7’5” wingspan and has already improved running the floor and as a finisher. If he can parlay his frame into improvement as a rim protector, it’ll give him a real boost.”

SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell is particularly fond of Anunoby, ranking the rangy sophomore No. 5 in next year’s draft class.

“Anunoby was completely off the radar as a recruit, but burst onto the national scene late in his freshman season for Indiana. He has the potential to be an all-world defender, with impossibly long arms, quick feet and good instincts. Just ask Jamal Murray.”

The Sporting News also believes Anunoby has lottery upside, ranking him at No. 6 in the class.

“Anunoby is arguably the best defender in this draft class, at 6-foot-8, with a strong frame and an abnormally strong wingspan (somewhere between 7-foot-2 and 7-foot-6). He’s ready to step on an NBA floor today and defend, but it’s a good thing he went back to school to develop his offense. He’s a solid spot up shooter and dunker, but really needs to expand his game beyond that.”

At CBS Sports, Gary Parrish included both Bryant and Anunoby in his top 30, slotting Bryant at No. 5 and Anunoby at No. 24.

On Bryant:
“Bryant could’ve been a first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. But he decided to spend at least one more year at Indiana. And, I think, he’ll benefit from it.”
On Anunoby:
“Anunoby was a lightly regarded recruit coming out of high school, relatively speaking. But most expect the 6-8 wing, who is still only 18 years old, to make a huge leap next season and find himself somewhere high on some franchise’s boards.”

During my interview with Tom Crean last week, the IU basketball coach spoke at length about the areas he hopes to emphasize with Bryant and Anunoby during the coming months. Follow along after the jump to read what Crean told me about both sophomores.

Crean on his points of emphasis with Bryant:

“Mindset, playing with great emotion and poise and playing harder longer. We do special workouts for him, because we don’t have anybody right now, health-wise or because of the fact that De’Ron is not here yet, that can go match-up with him. So we put him in different situations. He’ll work with the other guys, but we’ll also do 20-minute speed workouts with him where he’s dealing with a lot with the body pads and the hand pads and double teams, and getting him strong, quick reps to focus on the details, like moving even quicker, having a better first step offensive and defensively, getting his shot off quicker. There are days we train him, as he would say, like Yogi Ferrell and there are days we train him to be one of the most complete forwards in college basketball, which I think he will be. We want to give him a skill set that will be second to none. That’s the whole goal. He has attacked every day. He came back a week earlier than he had to be here. He is a hungry guy and he’s doing an excellent job. He made strides during the spring, without question, because he was one of the guys who was able to go all out. He’s continued right into that this summer.”

Crean on what Anunoby needs to focus on next season:

“Shoot the ball consistently and quicker, with range. Be able to pass and make plays off the dribble for other people. That is going to be huge. Continue to progress to being a guy who can guard one through five, which he showed many a time last year. It’s very, very hard to get away from him defensively, so let’s make it even harder and keep building his strength. He’s really getting bigger up top, which is going to help him. Continue to build his quick twitch, his first step. Get to the second dribble, but really have vision to create. If he’s going to be the wing player that he can be, he’s going to have to make plays off the dribble for others, too. That’s the next step for him. When we recruited him, our first ‘Wow!’ was watching him defensively. My first ‘Wow!’ was watching him defensively at the front of the press using that length and then covering ground once the ball was inbounded. Then everything else took off from there.”

10 comments

  1. Time to start reserving a table at Ruth’s Chris…..

    The only “projections” these guys should be worrying about are studying the films from the Knight coaching library spooling from a Bell & Howell brightly onto Crean’s massive blank forehead.

  2. Time for another interlude…See you guys sometime in August…or September.

  3. Theres talent on this team those are just projections that all sports sites do in every sport — whats the big deal — u have no legitimate argument other than being annoyed by it thats just silly come on now.

  4. More than silly the info from the 6 talking heads is ridiculous. CBB is what we follow. The NBA is a sideshow.
    t is so right.

  5. Yes, and that is the way distraction seeds are planted, watered and grown. As time goes on players and teams such as this one lose focus and track of what they should be doing in the immediate future as in day to day…week to week.

  6. Huh really?thats a bogus statement there are alot of guys that know they are great and know they are without people tellin them and they still focus on gettin better i have confidence that they will maybe u all dont and clearly alot of u dont which is odd and puzzling

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