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The MVP diary from Ulm - Big John Bryant: „This year I’m gonna block Per’s hook shot in the all...

The MVP diary from Ulm - Big John Bryant: „This year I’m gonna block Per’s hook shot in the all...

This time, the MVP talks about a short beach holiday in Dubai in shorts and flip-flops, Ulm’s 24-point comeback against Cibona Zagreb and drinking hot chocolate.
After the game against Zagreb, the team had four days off. So, Steve Esterkamp’s family and mine went to Dubai to lie on the beach for a couple days. We had heard the past couple of years that Dubai is a nice place. We wanted to go somewhere with a beach. We were thinking about Gran Canarias, but people said you never know about the weather there. And everyone said that in Dubai you’re pretty much guaranteed to have nice weather. It was a good time, definitely a change from the snow – something like 25 degrees. It was tough coming back to the snow after being in shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops. But you’re back to bundling up and back to work and back to winning games hopefully.

People probably want to hear about the Cibona Zagreb game, where we came back from 24 points down in the third quarter. Man, it was crazy, a weird game. At the beginning, we didn’t have any energy. I don’t know what it was, but we just didn’t have the same excitement. It was one of the worst first halves we have had as a team. Being down 24 points is probably one of the biggest comebacks I have ever been part of. It’s a big mountain to climb. Per came down and hit some big threes and started getting us going. We started getting stops on defense and it was just a snowball effect from there. Everybody was getting more and more excited and we kept hitting threes. In the third quarter, the manager on the bench who had the live updates from the St. Petersburg game said Cholet was losing. We had started our comeback and then Coach said, Come on, Cholet is down. This is our opportunity. We have to take care of beating Zagreb. And knowing that Cholet was losing gave us that extra push. We found our rhythm and played really good D and got the win. We’re just super excited about it.

Reaching the Last 16 is a big accomplishment for us. We had never played international basketball before. So to make it to the final 16 is huge for us. The first round wasn’t great for us. We lost some games we should have won. We just want to go out there and get used to the travel. It’s a different ball game when you travel across time zones. Once we get past that, we can make some noise in the second round. In the Last 16 we also have Unics Kazan, who we lost to in the Euroleague qualifying. I am definitely looking forward to that. That was everyone’s first international game and it definitely wasn’t our best game. We had moments where we were doing good, but now it’s time for a little bit of payback. I, personally, and I think the team as well is looking forward to that.

It was really nice to be named an ALLSTAR starter – also along with Per and Philipp. I was talking to Per at practice about it and Per was doing kind of a hook shot move and I said you better get ready because you’re not gonna get a hook shot on me this year. I’m gonna block it! He started laughing and said, Oh I got something for you this year. There will definitely be something there. We are both competitors and like to win, so it will be entertaining. I’m looking forward to it – also with Phil coming in. He’s a fun guy too. It’s good that he’s getting recognized. It’s gonna be a blast.

The next time I write it will be 2013. I really like Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. Not really for the gifts but for the feel of it, especially over here with the markets and stuff like that. It’s a time I like to enjoy. I like to bundle up and drink hot chocolate. It’s fun. For all the fans out there, enjoy it and get ready for this new year. I hope it’s a prosperous one for everybody.

Happy holidays and talk to you next year, John Bryant
easyCredit BARMER Telekom Spalding GYMPER Sportwetten