TERRE HAUTE — When Bryant McIntosh made a verbal commitment to play men’s basketball at Indiana State in January, the Sycamores were his moon and stars.
At that point of his career, as McIntosh entered the second half of his junior year at Greensburg High School, few programs had been willing to pull the trigger and make the guard a scholarship … at least not many programs that could offer McIntosh a chance to play at a Missouri Valley Conference caliber school like ISU.
One 3A state title for the Pirates and months worth of accolades later, the situation has changed on the ground for McIntosh. He is attractive to more schools and programs that meet or exceed the MVC standard.
On Monday, McIntosh decided to de-commit from ISU and re-open his recruitment. While McIntosh hasn’t ruled the Sycamores out, the re-opening of recruitment usually signals that a recruit will be going a different direction.
The Tribune-Star traded emails with McIntosh on Friday to get his side of things. McIntosh was asked if there was any clinching factor that made him to decide to seek other opportunities.
“Re-opening my recruitment kind of took shape in early July. I just started questioning if I would fit the way I would like to,” said McIntosh, who is currently playing for the Eric Gordon All-Stars AAU team.
McIntosh explained that because he committed to ISU so early in his process, he didn’t get a chance to size himself up in terms of how he fit at other schools. McIntosh had, and still has, a good relationship with ISU coach Greg Lansing, who was the Sycamores’ point man on McIntosh’s recruitment.
“The problem was I committed so early to ISU that I never got to get a good comparison with other schools. So I never knew if it was the correct fit for me. I just had an outstanding relationship with Coach Lansing,” McIntosh said.
Per NCAA rules, Lansing is not allowed to talk about recruits. He is only permitted to talk about players after they sign their National Letter of Intent.
Because of McIntosh’s relationship with Lansing, it was very difficult for him to break the news to the fourth-year ISU coach. But both sides needed to know where he stood before the July recruiting period began last Wednesday.
“Telling coach Lansing was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I love coach Lansing but I just needed a comparison and it killed us both. My whole family was very emotional because I gave my word to [Lansing] and it made me sick going back on my word,” McIntosh said.
Recruiting is a process that student-athletes often want to get over with because it’s a grueling process — constant calls, texts and endless visits by coaches, etc. — that ends with a significant life decision that sometimes doesn’t pan out.
“No one really understands recruiting and that commitment to the school unless you’re going through it. It’s something that effects the rest of your life,” McIntosh said. “So fans become upset with recruits like me but it’s a big decision and I just wanted to go back over and look things back over before my NLI [National Letter of Intent].”
McIntosh said that ISU remains interested and he remains interested in ISU if things don’t work out elsewhere.
“Indiana State will always be in the mix I believe. As long as they continue to recruit me,” McIntosh said.
But the suitors for McIntosh keep coming.
In the week since he re-opened his recruitment, McIntosh has received scholarship offers from Florida State, Auburn and Atlantic 10 Conference-bound Davidson. Missouri made McIntosh an offer on Saturday.
Interest has also come from Clemson, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Creighton, Xavier and others.
“Right now I’m just trying to see who is interested. I’m wanting a comparison. I haven’t thought about geography. I don’t think it’ll be as big of a deal now than what I thought in January,” said McIntosh, when asked what he’s looking for in a school.
McIntosh admitted that he did not enjoy the recruiting process the first time around. He wants to change that for his second go-around.
“I’m a kid who is somewhat shy. I don’t go out of my way to talk to people. I’m backwards so I didn’t enjoy it but this time I’m really focused on enjoying the process,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh was an avid follower of ISU’s fortunes during its roller coaster 2013 campaign, often Tweeting encouragement and kudos to his would-be future teammates. He understands that his de-commitment has rankled some ISU fans, but he’s appreciative of the support he’s received from others.
“I really appreciate their support. Coach Lansing and the staff at Indiana State is one of the best in the country. They will have a great recruiting class no matter what and with the communities’ support basketball will return to where it was when the guy who they are building a statue for now [Larry Bird] was,” McIntosh said.