Had a chance to talk to Washington assistant Paul Fortier about incoming senior Matthew Bryan-Amaning (left) who is playing this summer for the Great Britain national team that’s trying to qualify for the EuroBasket 2011 tournament.
Last July former Husky star Quincy Pondexter played for Team USA in the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia. He credited the international experience for improving his confidence and said it helped propel him towards one of the finest seasons in UW history.
Fortier is hesitant to predict a similar outcome for Bryan-Amaning, but when asked if there’s any comparison, he said: “I certainly hope so. … I know he wanted to make that team and he did. You don’t want to get cut. I don’t think the coach had seen him play before so he was going in there. They just invited him and he ended up making that team. I thought that was huge and confidence wise that should be good. I think he’s going to get ready for a good senior year.”
Bryan-Amaning, a 6-9 foward, is a returning starter and one of three seniors who figures to play a pivotal role for the Huskies next season. Fortier said he would have liked him to have participated in the open runs this summer with other UW players on campus, but understands Bryan-Amaning had a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.
Photo credit:Seattle Times / Cliff DesPeaux
“It’s not like Matt is not doing anything,” Fortier said. “He’s playing for his country and I think when guys get those opportunities and we hopefully will get some other players from different countries as well. And coach (Lorenzo) Romar is not the type of guy that’s going to hold guys back when they get the opportunity to play for their country or play (for) 20-under (team) or whatever. He stayed here all of last year and he made an effort to hit the weights and he basically didn’t go home in the summer. We remember that so I’m fine.”
Bryan-Amaning didn’t play Monday, but according to published reports in London, he’s impressed observers in England. He averaged 10.2 points in five exhibitions with Britain’s senior team.
Fortier said he’s been keeping in contact with Bryan-Amaning through texts. Before Bryan-Amaning left in June, they worked on improving his perimeter shot, extending his range to 15-17 feet and practiced several pick-and-pop situations.
Said Fortier: “We want Matthew to be better in his weak areas, but for sure we didn’t forget where he’s strong at as well. We want to make sure he’s rebounding the ball and shooting a pretty good percentage. If he does that, he’ll be fine. … We’re not going to say now that Matt is going to turn into a face-the-basket guy. We know his strengths. He knows his strengths. Yes we want him to get better in other areas and we hope that becomes a part of his game.”
Fortier also commented on UW’s other post players.
— Junior college transfer Aziz N’Diaye is getting acclimated to Washington’s academic and offseason training program. He’s a regular participant in the open runs. He’s also playing in the Green Lake summer league. Fortier has been impressed with his diligent work ethic.
— Tyreese Breshers recently returned to Montlake for summer school. He’s reportedly in better shape than he was at the end of the season and his conditioning continues to be a priority in offseason workouts. He did a lot of running on the beach when he was home in Los Angeles.
— Darnell Gant had been at UW for the first summer school session, but went home to Los Angeles recently. He’s working out with Justin Holiday in LA.
— Incoming freshman Desmond Simmons has built a reputation as a hard worker in open runs and in the weight room.
— Brendan Sherrer is working Romar’s basketball skills camp at Hec Ed after spending some time in Alaska fishing.
— The Arizona Daily Star gives an update on offseason workouts for the Wildcats and says transfer Jesse Perry, a 6-8 forward, has been hampered after suffering a minor back strain in a car accident in March.
— In case you missed it, former UCLA star Tyus Edney is returning to Westwood to become the Bruins’ men’s basketball director of operations.
— The New York Times takes a look at basketball power broker World Wide Wes aka William Wesley and speculates his influence may diminish because he’s established formal ties with an agency.
Note: Thanks to everyone for the e-mails, texts and support over the past several weeks. It’s been a difficult period, but your kindness has been greatly appreciated. And thanks to Bob Condotta who filled in during my absence.