I really liked what I saw from James Bryant during Gannon's pulsating win over Taylor (Ind.). The way I see it, Bryant is 45% Jarming White (explosive and flashy), 35% Javar Cheatham (killer handle and penetrates to either score or pass), and 20% Gee Blanks (lefty who plays high-risk, high-reward defense). Or maybe Bryant is simply a Division II version of Kenny Anderson. Either way, he makes the Knights more potent offensively.
What has me excited (besides seeing Gannon break out of the 40s on the scoreboard) is that Bryant isn't yet at the top of his game physically and mentally. Someone sitting within earshot of the Gannon bench told me you could hear one of the assistant coaches more or less telling Bryant every step he should be taking. It's like coaching a soccer team of 5-year-olds: "Get the ball, Jimmy. Dribble it over here. Pass it to George. Now run to the middle. Stop there ..." When Bryant is comfortable, I'm thinking he'll be a consistent double-digit scorer and lead the Knights in assists.
Other observations from Wednesday night at the Porreco Cup:
* Someone asked me the last time Gannon played in a Porreco consolation game. You have to go back 17 years when the Knights fell to Slippery Rock, 61-58, in 1992. And did you know the 1989-90 team that advanced to the Elite 8 was relegated to the '89 Porreco consolation game? GU fell to Northern Kentucky in the opener, 84-81, after four academic suspensions depleted the roster. Only a Mike Crawford last-second three that sent the game into OT and big Mike Snyder's offense and rebounding in the extra period vs. Millersville avoided a last-place Porreco finish for that team.
* George Johnson made the all-tourney team, showing that what you do on day one of a two-day tournament (Johnson was 2-for-15 vs. Seton Hill) doesn't mean a hill of beans. Johnson led the Knights with 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting against Taylor.
* On a personal note, I think it took Larry Swann all of 18 seconds to match my career high of 3 points. Sigh.
* Three oddities about the Taylor basketball team. First, I'm trying to think of the last college team I've seen on TV or play at the Hammermill that had no minority players, coaches, trainers, etc. Second, Trojan head coach Paul Patterson has coached over 1,000 games but apparently he never learned how to signal for a timeout. Every other coach I've seen makes some form of a "T" with their hands. Patterson just raised his right hand like a schoolboy and yelled "time!" Finally, with Taylor being a fundamental Christian school, it was nice to sit behind their bench and not hear one cuss word the entire game.
* An oddity for Gannon. Yes, I'm surprised they have 17 players on the active roster, but I'm completely stunned they actually have 17 uniforms to distribute. Did somebody see this coming?
* I'll buy you a ticket to a Salem International women's basketball game (they're 0-8 this season, scoring less than 40 ppg) if you can correctly guess the reason I chose the headline "Handy Man" for this blog post.