Four IU players declare for NBA draft, only one hires agent

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Thomas Bryant #31 of the Indiana Hoosiers shoots the ball during the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Assembly Hall on January 15, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Four Indiana University basketball players will try to make it onto an NBA team. Three of them could return to Bloomington if it doesn’t work out.

On Monday, sophomore forward OG Anunoby announced his departure from Indiana for the NBA. He was the only one of the four to hire an agent.

The other three testing the NBA waters are James Blackmon Jr., Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson. None of them elected to hire an agent, leaving the door open for a return to Bloomington should they not gauge enough league interest.

“These four young men all have unique talents and we support them in their decisions,” said new IU Coach Archie Miller.  “We congratulate O.G. and hope that James, Robert and Thomas can benefit from this and make the best decision that will have a lifelong impact.” As the semester winds down, we will continue to help them in any way with our priority being they continue their commitment to their academics and all eventually become Indiana University graduates.”

Last season, Thomas averaged 12.6 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman was the first to report Thomas’ decision. Goodman cited NBA executives who predict Bryant would likely be a second round pick, should he elect to stay in the draft.

Blackmon was a third team All-Big Ten honoree by the media and honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches in 2016-17 after averaging 17.0 points overall and 16.5 points per game in league play while leading the conference in 3-point field goals made per game (3.0), according to IU. He was named one of 10 finalists for the Jerry West Award and became the 50th player in IU history to surpass 1,000 career points and finished his junior year with 1,235 points, which ranks 33rd in school history.

“My ultimate goal has always been to play professionally and this is an opportunity I want to take advantage of,” said Blackmon.  “This is an important process and I am excited to take part in it.”

Anunoby tore his ACL on January 18, ending his sophomore season. He is projected to be a first-round pick.

““I have enjoyed my time at Indiana and after thinking this over with my family, I believe this is the best decision for me personally,” said Anunoby.  “I will always be grateful to Coach Crean, his staff, and especially my teammates for two of the best years of my life.  I wish Coach Miller and the program the best of luck in the future.”

Johnson is on the cusp of joining the 1,000-point club with 978 career points and was second on the team, averaging 12.8 points per game and 13.2 points in Big Ten play. He was eighth in the Big Ten averaging 2.1 three-point field goals per game and also had 85 assists.

“I’m excited to go through this process and use this as a learning experience,” said Johnson.  “Every player in college has the goal to compete at the highest level and I’m looking forward to what the future may hold.”

The deadline for student-athletes to make a decision whether to remain in the draft process or return to their college programs is May 24.