Former Augie standout closer to pro career after PIT

Posted Online: April 16, 2012, 7:02 pm
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By Tom Johnston,
Bryant Voiles had a very memorable 23rd birthday last week.

The former Augustana College basketball standout was in the midst of a stint at the prestigious Plymouth Invitational Tournament – a camp/tournament in Virginia for the top college basketball players in the country looking to go pro.

And while he was more than holding his own against the stars of the college game from the highest level, that wasn't one of the most memorable things from his week-long stay that will be forever etched in his memory.

"I turned 23 on April 12 while I was out there, so it was a neat little birthday gift,'' said Voiles. "It was interesting how it worked out. We won our first game on Wednesday and didn't have a game on Thursday, which was my birthday. My dad (Marty) and I just enjoyed the day and relaxed; we really didn't do a whole lot. It was nice to get a little time together for a change.''

If you looked strictly at the statistics, one might conclude that Voiles didn't do a whole lot on the court, either. In three games, he averaged just over 16 minutes, four points, three rebounds and an assist.

But he still was able to get noticed as the only Division III player in the event doing what set him apart during his illustrious career at Augie.

"Here's a kid that I've followed for two years,'' Ryan Blake, NBA director of scouting, was quoted as saying about Voiles. "He's a guy that we think can put the ball on the floor. He can shoot the ball. He's got great size. He's a guy that can surprise some people."

Voiles, who walked with his class during commencement ceremonies last May and finished with classes in February, was happy with his effort at the P.I.T. after leading Augie this past season with a 14.2 points per game average and 7.2 rebounds per game.

"I didn't back down,'' he said. "I took the mentality that I've been bred with the last five years and went out and played hard and did the little things. That's what I focused on.''

Voiles, who was overjoyed that Augie coaches Grey Giovanine and Tom Jesse drove out to watch him, said that he took some ribbing from the other players about being from a small school.

"They saw how I played and they appreciated me a little bit more once we got into games,'' said Voiles, who has signed with an agent. "It was fun and cool to earn their respect.''

Now Voiles is hoping he earned the respect of the right scouts to land a spot on a pro team – either in the NBA Developmental League or overseas where half a dozen other former Vikings are playing.

Ask him about putting his accounting and finance degree to use and it always comes back to basketball and doing what he can to be ready when that call comes.

"My professional career may take off from here,'' he said. "It was fun playing in front of a lot of different scouts. I want to see where the future may take me.

"It was very humbling to even get that kind of an opportunity. It was also fun to go out there and play and enjoy the experience.''



Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.

(More History)