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 Saturday, Aug. 2, the 214th day of 2014. There are 151 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Because of the National Fast, no paper will be issued from this office tomorrow.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Attracting considerable attention is a sunflower stalk 15 feet high and still growing in the yard of Dr. C. Speidel on 23rd Street in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The municipal bathing beach proposition came up again at the city commission's meeting and a proposition passed, provided that a locker room be constructed at the foot of 7th Street for the accommodation of the bathers.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for erecting a $14,000 warehouse to replace the frame structure at the rear of the Augustana Book Concern were announced.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Hours for tours of the new Deere & Co. Administrative Center on John Deere Road will be changed, effective Monday.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Tuesday night at the Great Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band gave its fans more than they possibly could have expected. The band took the stage at 9:07 p.m. and didn't leave until 10:40.

(More History)