After not playing well at the Maui Invitational, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar benched Matthew Bryan-Amaning. The center responded with an effective game on Tuesday.
Most want to show tape of their time on a Hawaiian island. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar did.
When the Huskies returned last weekend from the Maui Invitational, Romar informed starting center Matthew Bryan-Amaning he would be coming off the bench against Long Beach State. It took Romar five games to alter the starting lineup, and he sat his leading scorer and rebounder in doing so.
Romar pulled Bryan-Amaning aside to show him video of what went on in Maui. What they saw was not the same player who spent the latter stages of last season blossoming. Instead, it showed a stagnant post.
“Coach told me I need to be more of a leader, be smart about my decision-making and put forth more effort when I’m on the court,” Bryan-Amaning said.
The latter was repeated during discussions of the change. Bryan-Amaning’s wingspan and athleticism are touted, but his motor is stalled at times. He’s able to spring up the floor when a runaway dunk presents itself, yet he misses box outs. On Tuesday night, his man rolled to the hoop for a layup when Bryan-Amaning hedged a screen and did not recover well. He was also stripped when continuing his maddening tendency of bringing the ball to his waist or taking an extra dribble.
He did not sulk, however. The senior came into the game and went 7-for-7 from the field against an overmatched Long Beach State frontline. He added five rebounds and four blocks during his 25 minutes. He smiled before, during and afterward.
Bryan-Amaning said he was told the move is not permanent. If he shows the necessary ambition in practice, he can reclaim his starting spot. Again, it’s about effort.
“Instead of being lackadaisical, just bringing it the whole time I’m on the floor,” Bryan-Amaning said.
Romar spun the discussion, presenting the decision as more a reward for N’Diaye’s effective play in Maui as opposed to Bryan-Amaning’s deficiencies. Though he capitulated to a degree.
“It’s always good to receive whatever message it is,” Romar said.
Bryan-Amaning said it was.
“I definitely knew where he was coming from,” Bryan-Amaning said. “You just have to put forth the effort day in and day out. It starts with practice, not just games and stat lines.”