NO REST FOR MBA

School’s out for summer, but for Matthew Bryan-Amaning, the hard work starts here.

Back home in London after finishing his junior year at the University of Washington, the 22-year-old isn’t taking a moment’s rest.

He has already played – and starred – in a GB Under 23 tournament in France and will suit up for the England senior team when they face Lithuania in July.

And, having been named to the GB men’s squad, MBA will compete for a chance to represent Britain at the EuroBasket Qualifiers when training camp begins later this summer.

“Playing with guys like Luol, Ben Gordon and Pops day in, day out is a testament to playing good basketball,” he told Basketball 24/7.

“Just being able to work with those guys and gain experience at such a high level is a great opportunity.”

Factor in gym time and some heavy individual workouts and you begin to get an idea of just how busy Matthew’s off-season schedule is.

He said: “I’m working out a lot. With friends, old teammates, and some of the guys that are pro overseas that have come back.

“If I was back at school for the summer I’d just be playing with my teammates, college guys and some pros, but not as many as I would be here. I’m just trying to work on some extra stuff and have a positive senior year.”

With only one year of college eligibility remaining, the 6-9 forward knows next season will be big when it comes to achieving his goal of playing in the NBA.

“I want to end up playing pro, and obviously my dreams are to play in the NBA, but it just depends on my production in my senior year,” he said.

After a slow start to his junior year at U-Dub, he finished the season strong, averaging more than 10 points and 7 rebounds over the last 13 games, while shooting 60 per cent from the field.

The hot play continued into the NCAA Tournament, where the Brixton TopCats product led the Huskies in rebounds and blocks, before Washington were bounced in the Sweet 16 by West Virginia.

He added: “I had a good end to last season and I heard it opened up some eyes for certain people, the right people, and if I show consistency and have a good year there’s a possibility I’ll be able to play pro.”

On his first trip home for more than a year, Matthew did manage to fit in a coaching session with kids at the Lilian Baylis Old School in Lambeth, where he played growing up.

He said: “It’s just great for guys like myself, Justin (Robinson), Ogo (Adegboye), Dapo (Fagbenle) to come back and show the kids where this can get you.

“We’ve been doing this a long time, since we were their age, and it’s just showing them that hard work can get you where you want to go.”

If this summer’s anything to go by, MBA’s certainly on his way.

Michael Romyn

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