Created on 2014-09-17 at 09:30 AM
He laughs a lot and has great fun in training. Even the challenging exercises during the club’s pre-season training camp in Bruneck (South Tyrol) couldn’t dampen John Bryant’s mood. In fact, they had the opposite impact on the American, who is showing good form in pre-season as he prepares for his second season as a Bayern player. The 27-year-old was hard at work over the off-season, as fitness-coach Jovan Buha created a programme he could complete under the California sun. The reason is simple: having won his first German title, the hunger for further success has strengthened.
“I have worked hard to get fit. What I can say is that I am in better form than I was last season – and everything feels better” explained the Centre after the first week of pre-season. Bayern fans will undoubtedly find this sentence exciting. Bryant, the two times Beko BBL MVP who signed for Bayern from Ulm in summer 2013, played a crucial part in the Championship winning side. He averaged 9.1 points and seven rebounds a game from 22 Bundesliga appearances and boasted an almost identical record in the Euroleague.
Bryant’s start in Munich was challenging, but due to improved fitness he shouldn’t have the same problems this season. “Big John” is hungry for success and has already been part of two pre-season tournament victories in Hagen and Mulhouse. The 2.11m American is relishing the increased pressure that being reigning champions brings: “Wherever we play, the whole arena is against us” said Bryant. “It is sometimes difficult, but it’s fun. It’s a great feeling when you are able to silent a raucous crowd by scoring a few early baskets.”
Bryant sees himself as being more important to the team than last year. “I am in good shape. I will definitely play more minutes than last year” he said. When speaking to the number 54 it becomes apparent that he is not lacking in self confidence. “I can make things happen on the court. If I feel fit, I am able to impact matches.” Svetislav Pesic is also fully aware of these facts, which Bryant displayed in the title run-in last season, and said: “He has found a better level of fitness and feels better personally.”
There are still just over two weeks until the season starts for Bayern. Their first match is at home to Mitteldeutscher BC on 2nd October (20:30 CEST), where it is hoped Bryant will show his importance to the team once more. His energy and self-confidence are shared by the team, meaning that the excitement for “Mission Title Defence” is increasing around the city.
Check out fcb-basketball.us for more news and info on FC Bayern's basketball team as they prepare for the new season.