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The MVP diary from Ulm - John “Big Country” Bryant:

The MVP diary from Ulm - John “Big Country” Bryant: "My three pointers? It’s more of a fun thing!"

MVP John Bryant talks about his ankle injury, his increasing love for the three point line, a couple of turkeys for the team's Thanksgiving feast and the loss in St. Petersburg.

I missed the Eurocup game against KK Cibona Zagreb with an ankle injury. It wasn’t too serious though, just a little sprain. The coach wanted to be safe and not have me play, though I could have played if needed. But the team took care of business and I came back on Saturday and had a good game against EWE Baskets Oldenburg. My health has been one of the things I’ve been lucky about, not having any injuries. I just try to play smart and not put myself in situations where I will get hurt. I’m healthy now and hopefully I will stay healthy the rest of the year – by the way, if you hear knocking that was me knocking on wood.

It was pointed out to me recently that I made 8 of 14 three-pointers in my last three games. I don’t know if I would say I am taking my game outside, but it’s something that I was always able to do. I’ve always played shooting games with other players, all the way back to college. But I never had a coach who said I could shoot the ball when I’m open. My college coach said: You’re a post player. Your shots come from inside the paint. When I got to Ulm, coach Mike Taylor didn’t say either way but I was always engrained with going into the post. But coach Thorsten came in and said I can shoot the ball if I’m open. I think it was the opening of the new arena when I hit my first one. Ever since then when I’ve been open and seen daylight I take the shot. And I’m shooting a good percentage (46 percent for this season). It’s a big boost for the team because if you have five shooters on the floor you have to pick and choose whom you’re going to guard from the outside. It’s just something that’s coming into my game, slowly but surely. Pretty much after every practice we have a shooting game with someone. Not like I’m gonna take this many shots. It’s more of a fun thing. But it’s a daily thing that I’m taking those shots. Even in practice.

As many of you may know Thursday, November 22 is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and we are planning on having a Thanksgiving dinner at our place. It’s unclear if that will be Thursday – after we get back from Russia – or over the weekend. But we will definitely have a couple of turkeys and a ham. It’s going to be a real Thanksgiving feast. It’s something that the girlfriends and wives of the players do. Thanksgiving was always a big event when I was younger because a couple of my aunts and uncles were pretty good cooks. One of my uncles works as a chef at University of California. And my aunt is a very good cook, always making her homemade desserts. My favorite was my aunt’s pumpkin pie. It was pretty killer, the highlight of the night. It was always a big thing going over to my grandparents’ house and seeing all the family. It was a good time. It brings back good memories of all my grandparents and uncles. Just being together is a big family thing. People in the States take the day off and make a special thing out of it. It’s a day of giving thanks and being with family. We are trying to keep the tradition going here. We’re friends but we are also kind of like a family as a team. It’s a nice bonding thing to help the team grow.

We had a long trip back from St. Petersburg. Spartak was a good team and we just didn't play our best. We had too many turnovers and gave up too many easy points. The city was cool with a bunch of old buildings, but we didn't see the sun the entire time we were there which wasn't good because I love the sun and it just makes things better. I didn't get much time to walk around but saw some really old buildings and memorials that were cool.

Catch you in two weeks, John Bryant
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