April 12, 2011

Foothill’s Bryson ready to impress

Kevin McCarthy
 

Foothill High is located in Foothill Farms, an unincorporated area of Sacramento County but not exactly Timbuktu. The Mustangs finished a very solid 7-3 -- in second place behind Center -- and 21-10 overall during the 2010-2011 basketball season. Coach Drew Hibbs, who has nabbed a pair of state championships at Foothill and 6-foot-4 Michael Bryson led the way. So the question is begged: why is the junior not recognized by recruiters as a member of the most promising 2012 prep prospects?

photo of Michael Bryson

Part of the answer is that Bryson, a first team All Pioneer Valley League selection who averaged 14.4 points per game this season, is relatively new to the club team basketball scene. Now a member of Brian Hamilton's Play Hard Play Smart squad, he'll finally receive the exposure necessary to develop a reputation in recruiting circles.

Here's Hamilton's offering on his newcomer: "Michael will blow up this summer. He has a strong body, can shoot it and also defend, handle the ball and is explosive at attacking the rim."

Another reason for the degree of anonymity is due to the composition of Hibbs' team. Here's Hamilton again: "Michael been playing out of position at the four and five spots because he's one of the biggest players on the team. He's really a one/two combo guard and the best all-around player in the league."

Hamilton also noted that Bryson is just 16 and will turn 17 when school begins early next go-around.

For Bryson, it's been basketball all along, along with some temporary diversions. "Basketball is a passion," he explained, adding, "football was fun but a hobby, not an inspiration." As a freshman, he played on the gridiron and then participated in cross country as a sophomore.

It's also been a basketball family affair. Bryson's father was a baller in high school and a bit in college, someone who "still plays in any city league he can get into," according to his son. Naturally, his father is his biggest basketball influence "plus my mother always encouraged me."

How does the young man assess his game? "My best skills are my basketball IQ and my shooting ability," he offered. Conversely, he is working on "everything, because you can always get better." Asked how he has gathered his hardcourt acumen, Bryson explained, "I've been playing since I was four, going up against my Dad plus watching both him and games."

Bryson acknowledges the growth in his game but even more so his understanding since his freshman season. "As a freshman, I made it more difficult than it was. My vision has gotten better -- the game is simple but it's a matter of seeing it."

His academics are in order -- no concern there.

For Bryson, It seems a matter of eliminating the "if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" unperceived existence. That's job one for him this summer, getting recruiters to shout out "timber." Expect the lumberjacks to form a chorus.