The MVP diary from Ulm - John Bryant: Best shape of my life, but there are still extra pounds I...
This time the MVP talks about learning from the TOP FOUR defeat to ALBA; Omar Samhans great locker room performance; tackling his weight; and his NCAA bracket.
Losing in the TOP FOUR final to ALBA BERLIN was hard. It was a tough game. We were making shots up until the last quarter. Thats where we kind of lost it. We didnt really do what we do, which is push the ball and run in transition. You can say they played good D and stuck to their game plan in keeping the ball out of the middle and us out of the post. But I think it was us not focusing on getting the ball inside and sticking to our game plan. Thats why we lost it. I feel we learned from it. Its a tough feeling. As a team we just have to figure out how to finish games off. We had a lead going into halftime. In the fourth quarter we have to calm our nerves and make shots. And play our game. If we play our game I think were very tough to beat.
One fun thing was Omar Samhan showing his butt on national TV. We had just won the TOP FOUR semifinal game and were all happy. Coach came in and told us the TV guys were going to come in and doing a camera scene. Dont ask me why but theyre coming in. Omar said, okay, Im going to make a point of this. We were sitting right next to each other and they were setting up the camera and he said: Should I do it? I said, Just do it. You cant just talk about it. You gotta do it. It took him a little bit to build up some courage but then walked across and it was pretty funny. Everybody really had a good laugh. It was just a fun time after a big win.
Our first game back in the Beko BBL is at home against Berlin. Im super excited and ready to go. We get them here at our place. And its actually going to count in the league. Its going to be a big, big game for us in the rankings. Were neck and neck with them for second place so it will be a huge game. Were super motivated. There will definitely be some payback for the loss we just had.
Practice is getting fun, especially banging against Omar. Its good for me physically because it will get you tired in practice. I have great competition because hes a big guy like me. Its tough for me to back him down. Its definitely a pure positive for us. Its also helping my fitness. I feel like Im in good shape, probably the best shape of my life. There are probably a few extra pounds I could lose and be in better shape. But I feel that Im in a great position right now.
Tackling the extra pounds is something personally that I want to do. Get it off just for personal reasons. I know it will help my basketball game. It would help me further my career and be the best player I can be, make me faster, quicker and play more minutes and be more effective. Its something that I want to do, something thats always been on my mind. And Im doing extra cardio after practice and doing extra stuff by myself at the house or core stuff, just little things that are going to burn calories and continue to fight the journey and keep going. Its always in progress.
The hardest part is definitely the eating. Im a guy who loves food. Thats one of the things you have to work on every day. Its an everyday battle. You go to the hotels and you have all these buffets and these desserts and stuff. So its definitely the choices you make and the foods you eat that are the hardest part. I really got serious about my body starting in my junior year at Santa Clara University. We got a new coach, Kerry Keating, who told me: You could play professional basketball if you get your body in shape. How much you dedicate yourself to getting yourself in shape and ready for basketball is how far you will go. That was my first eye-opener. I was enjoying college and having fun my first two years. And he came in and said if you want to make a living out of it, you have to get in shape. That was the first thing that opened my eyes. And Ive been working on it since.
Being in Berlin, we were watching the NCAA Tournament on TV in the hotel. The beauty of the tournament is that youre always going to have the Cinderella team the team that nobody saw coming. Watching Gonzaga losing was fun for me as a player who went to Santa Clara because I dont really like them. But it would have been good for the West Coast Conference if they went further. What can you say about Florida Gulf Coast? Its another team going out there and playing hard. Its win or go home. When your backs are against the wall, peoples true colors come out. Its definitely fun watching that kind of basketball. Its the best of the best. My bracket? Mines shot. Florida Gulf Coast and Gonzaga screwed it up. I had Gonzaga in the Elite Eight. I have Louisville winning it, so I still have a chance.