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July 18, 2011

Bryant building off last season

With Mississippi State's backcourt situation last season, Brian Bryant was thrown right into the fire during his first year with the Bulldogs.

The first semester suspension of Dee Bost and subsequent transfer of Twany Beckham left Bryant with plenty of minutes on the floor in 2010-11. Now the senior combo guard is hoping to build off his success and finish his college career strong.

"I started to get more comfortable going out there and playing and not thinking," Bryant said. "That has kind of trickled down to how I'm playing now. I've been getting better and have to play like that during the year."

Bryant played in all 31 games for the Bulldogs earning nine starts. He averaged 4.9 points shooting 44.4-percent in 17.8 minutes of play per game. Bryant also finished third on the team with 59 assists and brought down 99 rebounds.

During the offseason the 6-foot-3, 160-pounder has utilized MSU's new Mize Pavilion to his advantage and improve his game.

"We've got a good weight room and I've gotten stronger," Bryant said. "With us being in there and being able to come into the gym anytime we want instead of when we were in the Hump because then we had to split time with the girls."

Even though the Bulldogs cannot begin practicing with their coaches they have been playing pick-up games and organizing practices of their own which includes mixing and matching their own lineups.

"Right now we are kind of undecided with our coaches being out," Bryant said. "We are just playing pick-up (games). We are putting people in different positions trying out stuff.

"We have pretty intense scrimmages when we are in there playing against ourselves. Everybody is just trying to help each other get better."

State is having to prepare themselves a little earlier this year due to their European road trip during September that will take them to Amsterdam, Belgium and Paris.

"We're expecting big things overseas," Bryant said. "We're expecting to go over there and get five wins and just come together as a team and prove everybody wrong. We're pretty much the underdogs."

The Albany, Ga., native who came to Starkville via Northwest Florida State College has only one year left and is trying to make the most of that opportunity on and off the court.

"I'm trying to step up my leadership not only on the court but off the court in the classroom," Bryant said. "It's your last year so you're trying to go ahead and graduate so you can do what you've got to do during the summer. I'm scheduled to graduate next spring but I'm in the process of changing my major so it might be June next summer."


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