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Tops in conference: the Big Man and the Rookie
It was a men’s basketball season for the record books. While it had its ups and downs for the team, which went 16-17 overall, for a pair of players in particular it was something truly special: Senior John Bryant and freshman Kevin Foster earned accolades as best in the West Coast Conference (WCC). And by some counts, Bryant’s the best in the country.
The Big Man
They double-teamed him, they triple-teamed him, but that didn’t stop 6’11” center John Bryant from racking up a season that earned him WCC Player of the Year and a place in basketball history at SCU. He’s now the top blocker ever. And he passed Kurt Rambis ’80 this season to land in the No. 2 spot for rebounds.
In the WCC, Bryant led in all games in field goal percentage, total rebounds, both defensive and office rebounds, and blocked shots. He was No. 3 in scoring. He racked up 27 rebounds in one game, against San Diego in the WCC tourney. “His numbers are off the charts in recent Bay Area history,” the Oakland Tribune wrote.
Bryant is the first player in Bronco history to score 1,600+ points, gather 1,100+ rebounds, and block 200+ shots. He led the nation in double-doubles—meaning he racked up double digits in a pair of categories in any one game. Over at SI.com he was esteemed “best defensive rebounder in the country.” Stanford’s head coach, Johnny Dawkins, called Bryant “one of the most dominant big men I’ve seen in years.” Randy Bennett, head coach of rival St. Mary’s, assessed, “He is arguably the best center in the country.”
Next up: pro ball stateside or in Europe. Stay tuned.
Freshman Kevin Foster landed a couple spots in the SCU record books this season as well: He beat Rambis’ freshman record for points scored on Feb. 21 against University of San Francisco. (Alas, the Dons won that one in overtime.) Earlier in the season Foster broke the SCU freshman school record (held by Steve Nash '96) for three-pointers made. He shared WCC Co-Newcomer of the Year laurels with T.J. Campbell of University of Portland.
In a pair of games against rival St. Mary’s, Foster scored 57 points total. Asked if he wasn’t concerned about facing Patty Mills, a St. Mary’s player and key member of the Australian national team during the Beijing Olympics, Foster said after one game, "I've gone up against a couple of NBA players myself … I was thinking about playing my own game and trying to win."
Fellow Bronco freshmen James Rahon and Marc Trasolini joined Foster as members of the five-member All-WCC Freshman team.Steven Boyd Saum
A Q&A with John Bryant appears in the Winter 2008 SCM. Find it here.
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