John Bryant is a 24 year old 208cm center from San Pablo, California that is playing his second season with ratiopharm Ulm. He played at Santa Clara from 2005-2009 and in his senior year averaged 18.1ppg, RebNCAA-2(14.2rpg), 1.1apg, 2.5bpg, FGP: 59.6%, FT: 78.7% . In 2009-2010, he played for the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League): 48 games: 13.2ppg, 9.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 49.3%, FT: 77.6% . Last season, he moved to ratiopharm Ulm playing 34 games: 14.6ppg, Reb-1(10.9rpg), 1.1apg, Blocks-2(1.5bpg), FGP: 60.4%, FT: 74.2% . He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Ratiopharm Ulm is the Cinderella story this season. If someone had told you a week into preseason that ratiopharm Ulm would be so high in the standings what would you have said?
I would not have been shocked, but I would never have thought we would be so high, but I would have thought that we would be in the playoffs. We got the chemistry fast and brought in experience with Esterkamp and Swann that has made the team better
ratiopharm Ulm had a tough preseason. How much did you hate the coaching staff then, but how thankful are you now that you went through hell?
It was a tough preseason. Every day we were on the track or in the gym. We all were a bit angry at the start, but in the long run it did help this team become so good and we understand why coach did that and we are thankful.
Why did the chemistry between coach and players harmonize so well?
He is a young coach, but he just understands us. He knows now how tough the season has been physically and will give us off days on occasion. He knows what we are going through and we just get along very well.
What has been a difficulty at the end of the season for the team?
Not being able to start strong. We had some games where we trailed quickly by 10-12 points, but picked it up in the second half. We have to understand that a basketball game has 40 minutes.
Who has been the most improved player this season?
I think that it has been Tommy Mason Griffin. At the start of the season he was pushing the ball in transition and making bad decisions, but now he is making the right decisions and knowing when and not to pull back.
Ratiopharm Ulm has many weapons but also 12 players that bring something special to the team. What does Sebastian Betz bring to the team most?
His energy and 100 effort is his best asset. He does so much especially crashing the boards. I am happy to have him on the team, because he is a pain for other teams.
What is the most incredible thing that you have seen Isaiah Swann?
The way he is able to handle the ball is amazing. He will do his floaters and I will come to try to block him, but its difficult. He is very good at getting off shots anywhere in the paint with his right or left hand.
You are the most efficient player in the Beko BBL. How thankful are you for Mike Taylor bringing you to Ulm?
I am very thankful that he took a chance on me. I talk to him often and always remind him. I am totally in debt to him.
What did you learn from Mike Taylor?
Just by seeing his enthusiasm and love for the game made we want to work harder. It just rubbed off on me.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t always get recognized right away?
I look like a bruiser who just will pound inside, but I don´t really get the chance to show off my 15-17 footers
What NBA shooter did you always like as a big man?
Back in the day, I liked Reggie Miller and how he acted on the court and hit clutch shots. Now its Dirk Nowitzki.
Steve Esterkamp and Isaiah Swann are parked in the corner and each get 100 shots each, who will hit more shots?
I think that Esterkamp will hit more shots. When his shot is on, he just doesn´t miss. Even if he misses a shot, he won´t miss another one.
What was your childhood like?
I had a great childhood in the bay area. It was a great place to grow up. I grew up with many cultures and the basketball competition was great also.
Who were your NBA idols?
I liked Shaq. He is a funny guy with a personality that is one of a kind. I loved watching his game.
At one point at Santa Clara, you weighed 175 kilos. Who helped you most mentally and physically shed the weight?
I first had a weight trainer who got me to get on the bike or treadmill after practice to burn some calories. In my last two years, I had a functional trainer and my coach helped me mentally telling me I could have a shot to play professionally one day and make money if I lost the weight.
What were your fondest memories at Santa Clara on and off the court?
On the court it was participating in the Cable Car Classic which was a tournament with four teams and making the game winning basket. Off the court being on campus each day was great. I just enjoyed the sun and palm trees.
Who would win a one on one, you or ex Bremerhaven center Sean Denison?
Back then he would win the games. He would do three shots fakes and then be in good position to score each time. Now I think that I would win just due to my knowledge of the game.
You played a season in the D-league. What didn´t you like about the D-League?
I didn´t like the travel. There were so many games in a four month time period. We traveled in vans and flights had many connections. The games however were fun.
What is the most amazing thing that Robin Benzing could do on the court?
His ability to shoot over anyone. His turnaround shot was great and he could make 9 out of 10 shots. He is a big guy that can handle the ball and shoot it. I always knew when it would go in.
What were the most number of free throws that you have made in a row in practice?
What was your most crazy shot that you have ever made?
Last season I made a shot from center court at the end of a practice at Kuhberg.
You have stated that you could imagine staying in Ulm for a long time. Why do you like Ulm so much?
Ulm isn´t a big city and not a village, but somewhere in between. The number #1 thing is that the people are very nice and it is a nice place to live at. It is just the little things that make living in a foreign country easy.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
A documentary Capitalism love story from Michael Moore.
Thanks John for the chat.
Too bad NBA is blind to this guy.