Posted Online: April 16, 2012, 7:02 pm
Former Augie standout closer to pro career after PIT
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By Tom Johnston, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.''