Truck Bryant Begins Play in Portsmouth Invitational - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Truck Bryant Begins Play in Portsmouth Invitational

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MORGANTOWN -

The Portsmouth Invitational opened play Wednesday night and WVU senior guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant got his first taste of action under the watchful eye of NBA scouts.

Bryant is one of 64 college basketball seniors from around the country invited to the 12-game tournament, each trying to impress those in attendance and earn workouts with professional teams.

His first game with the K&D Rounds Landscaping team did not go so well, ending in an 85-73 loss. Bryant finished the game with five points on 2-of-7 shooting as his entire team shot just 35 percent from the field.

After a brief practice session with his teammates, Bryant knew this experience would be unlike any college game he ever participated in because each player had his own agenda, more interested in a personal showcase than in playing any sort of system.

"I played point guard and once I passed it, I never saw the ball again," says Bryant. "I didn't think it would be like that to the max. It was crazy, but it was a great experience and I'll just look at things differently tomorrow."

A quick look at Bryant's stat line reveals that he did not attempt a single three-point shot. The last time he had a zero in that column for WVU was back in March of 2010 and Bryant has a simple explanation for why he never took one on Wednesday.

"Shooting threes is not my game," he says. "I'll shoot them if I feel like I have a wide-open one, but I didn't have any wide-open, so I didn't take any."

Hearing Bryant admit that a 3-pointer is not a strong suit in his repertoire may sound a little off when you look at this past season's statistics for the Mountaineers.

Bryant attempted over 100 more threes than any of his teammates and connected on nearly 40 more than the second-highest total put up by Kevin Jones. But he says that was done as a part of a system with WVU that asked him to be a shooter, which he does not believe is his forte.

"It's different when you're in a system and when you can play freely," he says. "That's me getting to the rim finishing or getting fouled or me getting to the rim and making a play for my teammates. That's something that I'll probably do a lot more of."

It is the style of play that helped earn him the nickname Truck when he was growing up in Brooklyn and something that he became known for earlier in his career at West Virginia before a lack of shooters required him to focus more on his jump shot.

In his first game, Bryant was up against one other Big East player in Georgetown's Jason Clark. As his team now moves to the consolation bracket, he will play South Florida's Augusta Gilchrist in his second game. He is aware of the talents many players in the tournament bring to the table, and thinks that could be a valuable asset in the coming days.

"There are great people I'm playing against, but at the end of the day, we're all fighting for a job," says Bryant. "We're all fighting for the same job, and that's to get to the NBA. I mean I'm just going to go in there and try to impress all the people."

Bryant is in the early stages of preparation for whatever comes next in his basketball career. He has been back and forth between West Virginia and New York getting his mind and body ready for events like this one in Portsmouth and any workouts he may schedule in the future.

Through it all, he has one goal in mind.

"I just want to keep working hard and I just want to get drafted," he says. "Even if I don't get drafted or sign as a free agent, I just want to be in the NBA. That's been a dream for my whole life and it's something I look forward to."

Bryant looks to his former teammates Da'Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks and Joe Alexander as the footsteps to follow at this time now that the season has wrapped up, but the reality is his teammate Kevin Jones will likely be drafted and he will not.

There are other avenues to take a professional career and with success find your way back to the NBA, but as countless Mountaineers and college players in general have found in recent years, it is far more easily said than done.

But one thing no one has ever disputed about Bryant is his confidence, and it is something that no amount of odds can take away from him, even now.

"I know I'll play in the NBA," he says. "I know that for a fact."

The determination is admirable, but the results must follow. His next chance at carving that path is at 3:15 p.m. Thursday in Portsmouth.

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