MATTHEW BRYAN-AMANING – NBA NEXT?

On the eve of the NBA Draft, British prospect Matthew Bryan-Amaning is quietly confident about his chances of getting picked.

“If it was this time last year, I know my name wouldn’t be getting called,” the 6′ 9″ forward from south London told MVP as he prepared to board a plane to Chicago.  “But just being able to work and have such a successful season, it’s put me on people’s radar. I know that I had a lot of good workouts. Hopefully it’s enough to get my name called.”

This season, Matthew averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds for the University of Washington Huskies – making the Pac-10 First Team and being named as the conference’s Most Improved Player. Since getting knocked out of the NCAA tournament by North Carolina back in March, MBA has been trying to impress NBA teams.

“I’ve just been traveling from place to place – San Antonio, New York, Minnesota, Sacramento, Portland, Oklahoma, Dallas…all over the place. I think New York was one of my best workouts. I went up against a first rounder and did really well against him. New York’s feedback was that I was the best big they’d had in so far. I’m trying to do a little bit of everything, I guess. People know about my length and my athleticism – but I think I showed it’s not just athleticism, there’s a game to go with it.”

That said, Matthew knows that it’s his physical attributes which might end up being the deciding factor for many teams.

“They love my measurements,” he says. “I know that when teams look at those, they’re always going to be surprised or happy about what I measure out as. Obviously my arms are extremely long for my height, so that helps. I’m fast, I’m conditioned and a lot of teams know that and like that about me. So when it comes to that sort of stuff, I know it’s going to help me, whereas it might not help other guys.”

The former Brixton Topcat admits he did have some nerves at his first few trials, but quickly got down to business.

“Once you kinda get lost in the zone and start playing, you don’t really worry about what’s there. You know that the main objective is for them to see you play hard and compete – they want guys that wanna win games. So I guess I play with my emotions on my sleeve, and I show that I’m an emotional kind of player who wants to win – that’s the kind of attitude I’m bringing to the team. I’mma do everything it takes.”

MBA will be with GB team mates Luol Deng, Eric Boateng and Ogo Adegboye in Chi-Town on the night. And he’s more than aware of all the British fans back home who’ll have their fingers crossed for him.

“I know a lot of guys I grew up playing with wish they had this opportunity. I’m just blessed to have been put in this position and God’s given me the tools and the abilities to be able to push myself and get where I am. It’s not everyday that a kid from London is put in this position. Hopefully, tomorrow I get to hear my name called.”

You can watch the NBA Draft live on ESPN on Thursday night / Friday morning at 12.30am

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