John Bryant Honored as WCC Player of the Year

March 2, 2009

As the national leader in double-doubles, rebounds per game, total rebounds and with five 20/20 games (points/rebounds), Santa Clara senior center John Bryant has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. In addition, freshman guard Kevin Foster has been tabbed the Co-Newcomer of the Year. It is the Broncos' 11th WCC Player of the Year and the seventh time a Bronco has been named the WCC Freshman/Newcomer of the Year.

Foster also joined fellow Bronco freshmen James Rahon and Marc Trasolini on the five-member All-WCC Freshman team. Bryant was named All-WCC First-Team for the second straight year and Foster was named All-WCC Honorable Mention. For the rest of the WCC awards please see the end of the release.

"I am surprised, really surprised. It doesn't get any better than winning player of the year in your conference your senior," said Bryant, a 6' 11, 275lb. center from Richmond, Calif. "It's especially an honor in a conference like this that is growing and getting better every year. There are some terrific players in the WCC including Patty Mills, Diamon Simpson, Josh Heytvelt, Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin, Nik Raivio, Austin Daye, Dion Lowhorn - there is a long list. When I first got here, all anybody talked about was Gonzaga. Now people are talking about San Diego and the run they had last year, Saint Mary's the last few years, what Portland has done this year and now hopefully they will be talking about Santa Clara. It's defiantly a conference on the rise."

"We are really excited for John, our team and our school to have our senior leader recognized by the coaches in our conference in such a high manner," said Bronco Head Coach Kerry Keating. "John represents a lot of things you would want a student-athlete to represent by performing well on and off the floor, graduating early, being a positive role model and overcoming adversity to represent himself, his team, his family and his school in a first-class manner. There are obviously many worthy candidates for this award in our conference, which makes it even more impressive that he was able to achieve this honor. We are humbled by the recognition, but also excited to have his efforts recognized and hope this will positively effect us well into the future."

"Both Kevin Foster and TJ Campbell (Portland) obviously had a huge impact on their teams and their successes this season and we salute them," continued Keating. "Kevin worked extremely hard to get better this season and was able to produce consistently to be able to earn the Newcomer of the Year. All of these post-season honors for our entire team are indicative of our goals at working to make our team better and hopefully we will continue to provide the foundation we need for future success."

"In addition, I congratulate Kevin, James Rahon and Marc Trasolini on being named to the All-Freshman team. Keion Bell (Pepperdine) and Jared DuBois (LMU) included, obviously the future of this conference is bright. Our three freshmen starters were asked to do a lot for the team this year and we are excited about our future because of those three and their classmates, Troy Alexander and Scott Thompson."

"I am surprised. At the beginning of this season I was just thinking about getting in and playing my role. I stepped up and played better. Coach Keating had more confidence in me and I got even more confidence," said Foster, a 6'2, 210lb. guard from Katy, Texas. "Individual awards are nice, but right now it's really about our team and winning. I want to do what it takes to win. (on past SCU players who have won the award): Brian Jones, Kurt Rambis - those names are pretty big names and it's an honor. I am blessed I got this opportunity to play here. I thank my parents for always pushing me and also Coach Keating for his faith in me and giving me a chance to play."

Bryant is the first player in Bronco history to score 1,600+ points, gather 1,100+ rebounds and block 200+ shots. He has a national-leading 24 double-doubles this year and his 48 career double-doubles are No. 2 of active players nationally. He was named to the 2008 WCC First-Team and to the WCC All-Freshman team his rookie campaign.

Bryant is No. 1 nationally in rebounds per game, No. 12 in field goal percentage, No. 15 in blocks nationally, and No. 68 in points per game (March 2). He leads the country in total rebounds (430), setting the single season school record vs. Portland. He is 20 rebounds from tying Dennis Awtrey's career school record of 1,135 boards.

This season Bryant leads the WCC in all games in field goal percentage, rebounds, defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds and blocked shots; and he is No. 3 in scoring. In WCC games, Bryant led the conference in field goal percentage, rebounds, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, blocks; and was No. 2 in scoring. Bryant was named the WCC Player of the Week three times this year.

Bryant is on a number of career top 10 lists at Santa Clara:

Bryant Next on the SCU List # to Tie No. 1

Blocks No. 1 (241)

Rebounds No. 2 (1115) Awtrey, 1,135 (1967-70) 20

Games Played T-No. 2 (122) Bailey, 127 (2001-05) 5

Games Started No. 4 (104) Rambis, 107 (1976-80) 12

Field Goals Made No. 5 (644) Awtrey, 646 (1967-70) 68

Field Goal Percentage No. 5 (58.0%) Awtrey, 58.0% (1967-70) 60.6 (No. 1)

Personal Fouls No. 7 (332) Jones, 339 (1996-01) 64

Points Scored No. 7 (1,630) Theus, 1,643 (1976-80) 106

He is also on a number of single season record lists as well:

Blocks No. 1 (79)

Rebounds No. 1 (430)

Field Goals Made No. 7 (215) Keeling, 220 (1984-85) 25

Field Goal Percentage T-No. 7 (60.7%) Weiss, 61.5 (1986-87) 64.7 (No. 1)

Points No. 8 (559) Vrankovich, 561 (1964-64) 60

Minutes No. 11 (960) Angley, 985 (2005-06) 130

Foster broke Kurt Rambis' freshman school record for points scored on Sat., Feb. 21 at USF. The record had stood for 32 years and Rambis' jersey was retired in Dec., 2008 officially with a ceremony. Rambis, the 1980 WCC Player of the Year who went on to star with the Los Angles Lakers, is the career points leader with 1,736 points and was No. 2 in career rebounds (1,037) until John Bryant passed him earlier this month.

Nationally, Foster is 76th nationally in three-point percentage and No. 85 in three pointers per game. Foster led the WCC freshman in points scored; and was No. 3 in WCC games of all players. Foster now has 448 points in his rookie campaign, topping Rambis' 414 points (1976-77). In addition at the USF game, Foster broke the freshman field goals attempted record set by Rambis the same season. Foster has 363 to Rambis' 317.

Foster leads WCC freshmen with 14.5 ppg in all games and with 16.5 ppg in WCC games. Foster broke Ben Dowdell's minutes played record set last season in the Portland game. Dowdell played 890 minutes last season and Foster now has 932 minutes played this season. Foster is No. 3 on the SCU freshman list in steals (39 this season, record is 49) and No. 5 in assists (has 77, record is 119).

Earlier in the season Foster broke the SCU freshman school record for three pointers attempted and three pointers made. He has made 78 and the old record was 51 by Brandon Rohe (2002-03). He has attempted 214 three pointers and the previous record was 145, also by Rohe.

The freshmen trio of Foster, Rahon and Trasolini has hit 20 + points 14 times this season. Foster has scored 20+ 10 times, Rahon 20+ three times and Trasolini crossed the 20 point line once.

Trasolini tied Bryant's SCU freshman record for blocks with 37 at USF. If the season ended today, Trasolini would shatter both the SCU individual single-season record and SCU freshman record as he is shooting 67.3% from the field. Trasolini is averaging 6.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 1.3 bpg.

Rahon, broke the old three pointers made record earlier in mid-February (he has 55, the record was 51) and is No. 2 currently at 40.1% in three-point percentage with only Steve Nash's 40.8% his freshman season (1992-93) better than Rahon. Rahon is third on the team with 11.2 ppg. He has 1.4 apg, is shooting almost 79% from the free throw line and leads the team in three-point field goal percentage.

West Coast Conference Awards

Player of the Year

John Bryant, SCU

Defensive Player of the Year

Diamon Simpson, SMC

Co-Newcomer of the Year

Kevin Foster, SCU

T.J. Campbell, POR

Coach of the Year

Eric Reveno, POR

All-WCC First Team

Matt Bouldin, GON - JR - G

John Bryant, SCU - SR - C

T.J. Campbell, POR - JR - G

Josh Heytvelt, GON - SR - C

Dior Lowhorn, USF - JR - F

Patrick Mills, SMC - SO - G

Gyno Pomare, USD - SR - F/C

Nik Raivio, POR - JR - G

Omar Samhan, SMC - JR - C

Diamon Simpson, SMC - SR - F

All-WCC Honorable Mention

Austin Daye, GON

Kevin Foster, SCU

Steven Gray, GON

Jeremy Pargo, GON

Robin Smeulders, POR

Jared Stohl, POR

All-WCC Freshman Team

Kevin Foster, SCU - G

James Rahon, SCU - G

Marc Trasolini, SCU - F

Keion Bell, Pepperdine - G

Jared DuBois, LMU - G

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT WCC PLAYER OF THE YEAR John Bryant
Santa Clara, Calif. - As the national leader in double-doubles, rebounds per game, total rebounds and with five 20/20 games (points/rebounds), Santa Clara senior center John Bryant was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year on Monday. The following are a few things people have said about Bryant this season and after the announcement.

Andy Katz, ESPN.com:
"Bryant put up huge numbers earlier in the season, but the Broncos weren't winning games. They are now."

Kurt Rambis, Former Bronco All-American and current Los Angeles assistant coach:
"During my recent visit to Santa Clara I had the opportunity to watch the Broncos play in the Cable Car Classic and was impressed with the team and how hard they played and their terrific come from behind win over Belmont. My congratulations go to John Bryant who has had an impactful recording breaking career at Santa Clara. With their strong WCC finish this season along with their three talented freshmen, including Kevin Foster who is already breaking records, Marc Trasolini and James Rahon, Santa Clara has a very bright future. I feel this young nucleus along with the rest of the team is on track to continue the great winning tradition of Santa Clara basketball."

Randy Bennett, Saint Mary's Head Coach:
"Congratulations to John Bryant as the conference player of the year. Having seen him progress for the last four years and having seen him play in high school because he was a local kid from around here who wasn't recruited much, it was an unbelievable transformation. He is arguably the best center in the country. He is really good."

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News:
"Bryant is posting huge numbers despite the constant double and triple-teams."

Johnny Dawkins, Stanford Head Coach:
"(Bryant) is definitely the best big man we've played this season and one of the most dominant big men I've seen in years."

Bill Grier, San Diego Head Coach:
"John Bryant worked a lot to change his body and has done a really good job. Against us at our place he had 23 points and 21 rebounds and that was phenomenal. He has changed his body so much and has such good stamina now. His freshman year he didn't have the stamina to get up and down the floor like he does now."

Marc Trasolini, SCU Freshman:
"John is the complete package. Every drill he goes hard and it's something that I want to make sure I do not just some of the time but every single play."

Marty Wilson, Pepperdine Assistant Coach (handled scout vs. SCU):
"Bryant's undergone a metamorphosis. He's still a big man, but he's slimmer and stronger, and he has great hands and a great feeling for the game. We wanted to make it tougher for him to catch the ball where he wanted to, and I thought we did a good job of it in our second meeting (Feb. 12), but he still got 25 points and 12 rebounds."

Kerry Keating, Santa Clara Head Coach:
"We are really excited for John, our team and our school to have our senior leader recognized by the coaches in our conference in such a high manner. John represents a lot of things you would want a student-athlete to represent by performing well on and off the floor, graduating early, being a positive role model and overcoming adversity to represent himself, his team, his family and his school in a first-class manner. There are obviously many worthy candidates for this award in our conference, which makes it even more impressive that he was able to achieve this honor. We are humbled by the recognition, but also excited to have his efforts recognized and hope this will positively effect us well into the future."

Eric Reveno, Portland Head Coach:
"I was at Stanford before I was here and I remember seeing John Bryant play at Santa Clara. He gets a lot of credit for his weight loss and he should as his work ethic is strong. I thought about asking him when I saw him up here (when he played at Portland) what his diet plan was because I could use it. For a college kid to stay away from the late night pizzas and food is hard. Coach Davey and Coach Keating have both been very good coaches for him. This season they don't have to modify any of their defensive assignments for him because of his conditioning or speed. He is just a beast. He really gets the job done. Seniors are seniors. There is a reason teams that win have veteran players. For him to be in better shape and be able to run down the court and be a little big quicker and in a little bit better shape, I knew he would do better. His numbers are a credit to his whole team. They have enough balance on the team and because of that, you couldn't just game-plan for him."

Max Good, LMU Head Coach:
"I have been in three different conferences coaching and have seen a lot of players. John Bryant has a very good basketball IQ. He has very strong hands, but also very soft hands. He not only sees his four teammates on the floor, but he sees all nine players on the floor which is strong. He keeps his head up during the entire game. Not everybody has that ability at 5'11, but much less at 6' 11."

Mark Few, Gonzaga Head Coach
"He has had a great year, statistically. He's had a phenomenal year. To score the ball as well as he did with his shooting percentage. He has had a heck of a career. He's a great guy and a great representative of the conference. One of my assistant coaches, Ray Giacoletti, was at Washington with Todd MacCulloch and Ray thinks he is farther along than Todd was his senior year. He has a chance to do some things on the next level. (has he changed that much to this year): He was good last year. He had some great numbers last year, too."

John Gasaway, SI.com:
"Meet the best defensive rebounder in the country, better than Blake Griffin or DeJuan Blair. He's John Bryant at Santa Clara. When he's on the floor, Bryant gets 35 % of the opponents' misses. He's also a very good shot-blocker. Bryant's also a load for opponents on offense hitting 59% 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 even more impressive."