A Basketball Moment From Athens Greece With Travon Bryant

Travon Bryant is a 26 year old 206 cm forward that is a skilled combination lefty forward that has a nice shooting touch from 10-15 feet, and is strong enough to maneuver in the paint in traffic and with his back to the basket. He comes from Long Beach, California and played at The Univeristy of Missouri from 2000-2004 with skilled players like Linas Kleiza, Ricky Paulding, Jason Conley and Jimmy Mckinney. In his senior year, he played 30 games averaging 10.6ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.7apg. In his five year career, he has taken a liking to the warm climate of Greece playing there for four years. In 2004-2005, he played for Iraklis Thessaloniki playing FIBA Europe League averaging 11.6ppg, 7.7rpg, 1.0apg, 0.9spg, FGP: 52.7%, 3Pts: 25%; and playing 26 games in the Greek league averaging 10.2ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 48.0%, 3FGP: 31.0%. In 2005-2006, he played for AO Kolossos Rodo playing 24 games and averaging 14.5ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.1spg, 1.1bpg, 2FGP: 52.0%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 66.0%. After the season ended in Greece, he hopped over to Italy and helped Benetton Treviso win the Italian league title averaging 16 games: 4.6ppg, 2.6rpg.

In 2006-2007, he played in the BBL for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners playing 28 games and averaging 14.7ppg, Reb-5(7.8rpg), 1.8apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 54.7%, 3FGP: 28.6%, FT: 61.7%. In 2007-2008, he jumped back to Greece and played for Costa Cafe Marousi playing FIBA EuroCup averaging 15.0ppg, 6.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.5spg, 1.0bpg, 2FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 53.8%; and playing 22 games in the Greek league averaging 10.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 62.0%, 3PT: 34.0%, FT: 52.0%. He also reached the Greek final in the playoffs playing 13 games and averaging 7.2ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.2apg, 2FGP: 60.0%, 3PT: 62.0%, FT: 62.0%. Last season, he played for AEK Athens playing 24 games and averaging 11.9ppg, Reb-5(7.1rpg), 1.1apg, FGP: 53.8%, 3PT: 19.0%, FT: 75.4%.

German Hoops caught up with Travon Bryant who is currently playing for Panionios in Greece.

How was your Christmas in Athens Greece?

It was calm. I didn´t do much. I was invited to Josh Childress´s house and saw some teammates. I didn´t do much New Years, because we had a game on Sunday.

What New Years resolutions have you made?

I am not really big on New Years Resolutions. I feel like if you set resolutions that you have to live your life a certain way. For me the most important thing is happiness.

It also took you a while before finding a team. How difficult was this period for you?

This was a very difficult time for me. I felt that I am a quality player with a lot of experience that ha splayed for top teams. I just stayed patient and kept in shape and waited for the phone call.

How did you keep in shape in Los Angeles. With what famous players did you pratice with?

I had my own personal trainer for the first time. I was playing against top players like Ron Artest, Brandon Jennings, Cory Maggette, Elton Brand and Danny Granger and the list goes on and on. I am also looking forward to next summer when I can play against them again.

Didn´t you have any other offers besides Panionios?

I did have other offers, but I felt that Panionios was the best team for me that would utilize me best. I felt the team had a quality roster and coach. This took a big role in me taking the Panionios offer. I think that this is the right team where I can have success and get better.

Since you turned pro in 2004, you have played in Greece except for the 2006-2007 season where you played for The Deutsche Bank Skyliners. Why have you always been in Greece. It can´t only be the nice weather can it?

I recently changed my agent, because I felt that I seemed to be only limited to one market. I think that the coaches in Greece like me. I like the lifestyle and weather very much in Greece. So far playing in Greece has been nice, but if another chance comes about in the future to play in another country than I would consider it.

What is it like to play in Athens when you don´t play for Panathinaikos Athens?

I think that is great being able to play against top teams like Panathinaikos and Olympiakos Pireus. These teams belong to the best clubs in Europe. You have to be always focused in games, because if you aren´t then you can easily lose by 30 points. I like to play against the best and see where I stand against the top teams in Greece.

Panionios has a record of 4-5 and are in 8th place. What is still missing from the team?

We had some injuries that hurt us and had a bad stretch where we had six games against Euroleague and Eurocup teams. When we get healthy and have an easier schedule then I think that we can win 5-6 games and get higher in the standings.

How is your relationship to Americans ex Giessen 46er Barry Elder and Tyrese Rice?

I have a good relationship with these guys. Both have very high basketball IQ´s. Rice is very talented and is a lefty point guard. Rice is from Boston College and scored 41 points against North Carolina last season. Elder has had some back problems, but he is coming into his own and is very athletic. They are good teammates and players.

Tyrese Rice had very good stats at Boston College. Were you surprised that he wasn´t picked up by an NBA team?

I was a bit surprised that no NBA team took him. It all has to do with politics. The NBA sets so many dimensions. Often it depends on the size or weight, but if you can play than you have a chance and Rice can definitely play. I think that if he continues to work and improve that he could have a chance with the NBA in the future.

How is your relationship to Vassil Evtimov?

Vassil is a good guy. His brother Ilian visited over Christmas. Vassil is a great guy that has so much experience having played with good clubs and played at North Carolina. He is so smart and if you have an open mind than you can learn a lot from him. He is always laughing, but when it comes to playing he is all business.

You also met his brother Ilian. How was he?

He is playing in Cyprus. He was a cool guy. We were having small talk and discussing the differences to where we play. He also talked about his great time in Frankfurt with the Skyliners.

You are averaging 9,6ppg and 10,2rpg in Greece this season. What do you want to tell your critics who still say that you are too soft under the boards?

I don´t have anything to say to the critics. Actions speak louder than words. I will just continue on focusing on my job getting rebounds. I don´t need to score, because we have a balanced scoring attack, but if I am called upon to score than I will. I will continue to give my maximum effort getting rebounds and securing the glass.

What was it like beating Olympiakos Pireus? Which player gave you the biggest challenge?

It is not just one guy that challenges you, but the whole team. They come in waves off the bench. Ioannis Bourousis, Nikola Vujcic who was a legend playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv and Josh Childress that played in the NBA. The whole team collectively hurt you as a team and just wear you down. This what separates the best teams from the others.

Do you think about your time with The Deutsche Bank Skyliners often?

I think about my time in Frankfurt a lot. I have contact to fans and it is nice when people ask how I am doing. I miss Frankfurt a lot and life is about changes. If the situation is good than I would never rule coming back.

Do you have any contact to your ex Skyliner teammates?

I don’t really have any contact to anyone except for George Reese. It is always hard to keep contact with all the different schedules. But I wish each guy all the best.

Do you follow how The Deutsche Bank Skyliners are doing?

Yes I do. I hope that they can stay healthy and possibly win a championship this season.

Since you left after the 2006-2007 season, your ex teammates Jimmy Mckinney has not been his old self. What tipps would you give him to find his old form?

It is never easy coming back after injuries. Jimmy has to be patient and a lot has to do with timing. I know Jimmy will work hard, take extra shots and sooner or later he will find his rhythm again.

Do you still think about reaching the NBA?

If the chance ever comes, then I would be a fool not to jump at the opportunity. I will continue to show that I can play well in Greece scoring and averaging 10 rebounds and be aggressive under the boards. In the NBA anything is possible.

Would you agree that The Los Angeles Lakers are the big favourite to win the 2010 NBA title?

They have a good chance to win the title. It is hard to believe when looking at the roster that they have already lost six games. It is all about being healthy and showing pride. Kobe Bryant is playing hurt and he is showing a lot of leadership. It is always easier to play at home where a team is more comfortable, but a team shows real character when dealing with adversity on the road

You played against Derrick Allen twice in the 2006-2007 season when he played for The Bayer Giants Leverkusen. How would you do in a one on one game against him?

I think that I would win, but I might have problems with him being so active on the court. If I am more alert and drink a few Red Bulls, I might be able to win a few games.

What was the last DVD that you saw?

The last DVD´s that I saw were Hangover, Step Brothers and Vanished Point.

Thanks Travon for the chat! Good luck this season in Greece!

Thanks Miles.

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