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Burnside High School 1968 - Basketball

George Bryant

By Doug Eads He has been referred to by most of his peers as the greatest basketball player that ever came out of the 12th Region, playing for tiny Burnside High School. He left Burnside and went on to become a star on the hardwood at Eastern Kentucky University, and he enjoyed a professional basketball career that covered a span of many years. Yet, despite everything George Bryant has accomplished on the hardwood, or in life for that matter, one of the first things that ‘Burnside’s Favorite Son’ will tell you is — first and foremost, he’s proud of his roots and glad to tell everyone that he is proud to be from the tiny town of Burnside, Kentucky. Take last spring for example. Bryant returned home and spoke to the Burnside Little Leaguers during their Opening Day Ceremonies in 2010, as the league celebrated its 50th year of existence. At that event, George Bryant was asked how he wanted to be remembered one day. In typical fashion, Bryant stated the following: “When I’m gone, I want people to remember me by saying that I told every child that I could, that it’s not where you’re from, it’s not who you are, but instead, it’s about where you want to go and how bad you want to get there.” Where Bryant went after a prolific high school career at Burnside is a great story indeed. Bryant was a star for his Burnside Generals head coach and mentor Oscar Fitzgerald, averaging right at 30 points per game as a senior during the 1967-’68 season. After leaving Burnside, Bryant went to Eastern Kentucky University where he played until graduating as a Colonel in 1972. When Bryant signed with EKU, freshman weren’t allowed to play NCAA Basketball at the varsity level, but when he finally saw his first varsity action in Richmond, he certainly made the most of his opportunity. George Bryant was a two-time All-OVC selection while playing at Eastern, and finished second in scoring (24.7 ppg) and MVP voting in the OVC as a junior. He averaged 21.2 ppg as a senior, helping lead the 36

Colonels to the OVC championship and a berth in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Just last year, he was one of 15 players to be inducted into Eastern Kentucky’s All-Century Basketball Team, as the Colonels celebrated 100 years of basketball last season. Bryant left EKU as the Colonels 13th all-time leading scorer with 1,385 points, and he was drafted by the NBA’s Buffalo Braves and the ABA’s Utah Stars after graduating. Despite all of the hard work that he put in throughout his athletic career on his own, Bryant says that looking back, he has plenty of folks to thank for what he was able to accomplish as an outstanding basketball player. “First and foremost, I have to give thanks to God for blessing me with what ability I might have had as an athlete,” Bryant said. “Also, I am very grateful for my parents, Dudley and Nida, and for all the support they gave me throughout my life,” Bryant added. “Then, I have to thank my high school coach at Burnside, Oscar Fitzgerald. Oscar was more than my coach, but he was and has always been my mentor. Oscar was my best man at my wedding, and he’s a big reason for a lot of the success that I enjoyed, not only on the basketball court but in life as well.” Bryant is a very humble man, and remains very proud of the fact that he considers himself just a ‘country boy’ that grew up in Burnside, Kentucky. With that being said, George Bryant will also be quick to tell you that aside from his parents and coach Fitzgerald, the guys he both played with and against back in the glory days of the old Burnside High School share a large deal of credit for him enjoying the kind of basketball career that he was able to accomplish. “I want to thank all of my teammates and the guys that I played with, but I also want to thank all the guys I played against,” said Bryant. “People don’t realize this, but when I played at Burnside, Southern Kentucky Health & Family Journal

Southern Kentucky Health and Family, June 2013  

Southern Kentucky Health & Family Journal is a publication of and is distributed by Newspaper Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of...

Southern Kentucky Health and Family, June 2013  

Southern Kentucky Health & Family Journal is a publication of and is distributed by Newspaper Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of...

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