January 30, 2009

Bryant Named Naismith Trophy Top 50 Finalist

Jan. 30, 2009

Leading the country with 306 total rebounds and No. 2 nationally with 16 double-doubles this season, Santa Clara senior center John Bryant has been tabbed as one of the Top 50 Finalists for the Naismith Trophy. The two-week voting to name the top 30 Finalists will begin on Mon., Feb. 2. The Naismith Trophy, presented by AT&T, will be awarded at the 2009 NCAA Men's Final Four in Detroit, Mich.

"We are really thrilled with John's inclusion on the Naismith Award Top 50 Finalist list. This is indicative of not only John's hard work and his effort in the off-season but of our team and its desire to improve and help John succeed in his senior season," said second-year Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating. "John is on track to graduate early this quarter and has been a great leader for our young team this season. John also realizes that individual accomplishments are the result of a strong team effort and our entire staff, team and community are excited to have John included in such prestigious company nationally."

On the national level, Bryant is No. 2 with 13.3 rpg, No. 12 with 2.7 bpg and No. 20 in field goal percentage (59.3%). He is averaging a double-double with 17.0 ppg and 13.3 rpg in 29.2 mpg.

Bryant, having lost 30 pounds in the off-season, is the only Bronco in school history to score 1,400+ points, gather 900+ rebounds and block 200+ shots. On the Santa Clara career list: Bryant is No. 1 in career blocks (224), No. 3 in career rebounds (991) and No. 9 in career points (1,462).

Bryant is just nine boards shy of 1,000 career rebounds. The 6' 11, 275 San Pablo, CA native is looking to become just the third player in school history and the 14th in WCC history to reach the rebounding milestone. Bryant would be the 10th player in Bay Area history to reach 1,000 career rebounds, and the first since Stanford's Tim Young accomplished the feat in 1999. Bryant needs 47 rebounds to pass No. 2 Kurt Rambis (1,037 from 1976-80) and 145 rebounds to break the school record set by Dennis Awtrey (1,135 from 1967-70). On the career points list, Bryant needs 275 points to break Kurt Rambis' school record (1,736 point from 1976-80).

He was the WCC Player of the Week after averaging 18 rpg, 17 ppg and 4.5 bpg on Dec. 8; and again on Jan. 26 after averaging 19 ppg, 16.5 rpg and 3.5 rpg for the week. He has twice tied his career-high with 22 rebounds at the Leavey Center, also the facility record set by Kurt Rambis vs. Saint Mary's in a 90-73 SCU win on Feb. 5, 1977.

Bryant has three games this year with 20+ points and 20+ rebounds. Those games are:

At San Jose State (12/3/08): 20 points, 21 rebounds

Vs. Stanford (12/23/08): 27 points, 22 rebounds

Vs. Houston Baptist (1/25/09): 20 points, 21 rebounds

In an article that appeared on SI.COM today, writer John Gasaway lists Bryant as one of the stars of his All-Underrated Team. Gasaway says of Bryant:

Meet the best defensive rebounder in the country, better than Blake Griffin or DeJuan Blair. When he's on the floor, Bryant gets to 35 percent of opponents' misses. He's also a very good shot-blocker. That's enough to merit consideration for my team right there, but Bryant's also a load for opponents on offense, hitting 59 percent of his twos and dominating the offensive glass. While Bryant might be All-Underrated nationally, he's no secret in the WCC and faces constant double- and even triple-teams, making his production all the more impressive.