Marlyn Bryant must have come down with a case of dÃ©jÃ vu.Picked by his teammates as the odds-on favorite at last month’s Midnight Madness dunk exhibition, Bryant turned Thursday’s game into his personal jam fest as the Bulls downed St. Leo 86-60 at the Sun Dome.
“(Bryant’s) a helluva athlete,” Greenberg said. “He’s as fun to coach as any kid I’ve had. He just wants to get better.”Bryant scored 14 points in the Bulls’ final tune-up before their Nov. 19 opener against Fordham, but did so in spectacular fashion, hammering home four dunks.
“He does everything right,” Greenberg said of Bryant. “He gets 10 hours of study hall, goes to class every day, comes in, does his shooting time and does his dribbling times. He’s only going to get better because he wants to get better.”
With St. Leo ahead 22-20 midway through the first half, Bryant sparked a 12-0 run with a one-handed dunk that gave the Bulls a comfortable cushion they would never relinquish.
But his slam in the second half was one few of the approximately 1,500 in attendance will soon forget.
After a steal, Jimmy Baxter dribbled about 10 feet past midcourt and lofted an alley-oop to what appeared to be no one. But Bryant came flying in at full speed from the right side of the court and caught the pass, jamming the ball in with two hands to extend the Bulls lead to 23.
“He’s not a bad athlete,” Greenberg sarcastically said after the game.
The Bulls were led in scoring by Altron Jackson, who finished with 22 points and one rebound (9) shy of a double-double. B.B. Waldon added six points in his first action of the season after serving a one-game suspension.
As was the case in the first exhibition, Greenberg rotated lineups often in an attempt to get a look at different combinations. Every USF player in uniform scored at least once.
“We’ve always used those two exhibition games to give everyone their shot, their 20 minutes,” Greenberg said. “And (then) try to make some sense of it.”
But just as important as who was wearing green and gold was who wasn’t. Junior college transfer Greg Brittian, suspended indefinitely Wednesday for failure to meet team academic requirements, missed his first game. Greenberg said he was unsure about a timetable for Brittian’s return.
“If he does what he’s supposed to do, he’ll be back. If he doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, he won’t be back,” Greenberg said. “There are certain stipulations I put upon him and he’s got to show me he’s serious about getting his degree.”After distributing minutes across the board in the two exhibitions, Greenberg said it’s now time to narrow down a consistent rotation – which should include freshman Kelvin Brown, who has missed both games due to suspension.
“We need to get to a nine-man rotation, that’s for sure,” Greenberg said. “Now we have to define some roles a little better. But no one got a chance to see Brown play and he’s pretty good.”
- Brandon Wright covers basketball and can be reached at email@example.com