This is a GUEST POST by John Miguel Hernandez. The opinions in the article are original and the author’s own point of view. If you have a differing opinion please leave a comment below. THIS IS A PART 2 of 3. See Part 1 here.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning has all the numbers to get the attention of an NBA team. At 6’ 8.5”, 232lbs. with a wingspan of 7’4”, he is a power forward who last year for the Huskies averaged 15.3 points and 8 rebounds per game. He is also a great defensive player with 37 steals (third best on a guard-centric team) and 54 blocks. The numbers don’t lie and he has certainly gotten many NBA team’s interest but is something missing?
In early December of last year, Amaning was relegated to the bench for the start of the Texas A&M game. His college coach said he wasn’t trying as hard as he could every play, every time down the court. A lot of NBA teams talk about heart, they talk about motor. It is a highly valued and sought after NBA skill, yet it isn’t a quantitative number. It can’t be measured in points or rebounds. It is more than that and we all know it when we see it. It is sweat, floor burns, hard fouls, and the sheer power of will.
Amaning took Coach Romar’s advice to heart and he got ahold of what his head was missing, his heart.
We saw it when he started to pound the floor after being fouled hard. We saw it when he would continue to try for that elusive coast to coast rebound and dunk. We saw it in his primal screams and his swinging arms. He had regained that passion. The change was noticeable immediately. By February, UCLA coach Ben Howland said, he had Amaning in in the running for POY along with Derrick Williams of Arizona.
Amaning can finish in traffic better than any
of the other Husky players in the draft. He offers good rebounding and at-the-rim defensive skills. He has athleticism, strength, and a big body. He has all this and with his new found Husky heart, he also has a high NBA upside potential.
He needs to work on his shooting skills and his mid-range jumper. He could also improve his post-up presence, his defense and his post-passing skills. Long time followers would also like to see him finishing a higher percent of the easy put-backs.
He has the potential and as long as he has the hard work ethic that he has displayed when playing for the University of Washington and the British National team, he can achieve it.
Although, Amaning did not participate in the NBA draft combine, he did participate in the Portsmouth Invitational where he showcased his skills and scored 16 points and brought in 8 rebounds, very near to his season average. More importantly than the numbers, he was scouted as “bringing a high intensity effort”.
Amaning has worked out for (among other teams) the Portland Trailblazers, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings. Previously, the Sacramento Kings have taken a chance on a high motor University of Washington player when they traded in the 2009 draft to the Portland Trailblazers for Jon Brockman.
Sacramento is rumored to be looking for a point guard and a power forward. The Kings also worked out USC’s Nikola Vucevic however he is predicted to be taken earlier in the draft prior to their second round pick.
So, based on all of these numbers, it is only fitting that Amaning take a special place in this draft, last but certainly not least.
The definitive draft pick for Matthew Bryan-Amaning is the Sacramento Kings at #60