Bryson McKenzie Chases Hoop Dream in the D-League

By Jerald LeVon Hoover
Updated: January 7, 2007

NEW YORKBryson McKenzie stands 6 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs a robust 240 pounds. He has arms like cannons with muscles rippling out of even his veins. And when he stands erect, his legs are akin to a thoroughbred race horse.

That’s the Bryson McKenzie of the here and now, who is also the starting center for the Anaheim Arsenal of the NBDL who began their inaugural season, which stands for; National Basketball Association Developmental League.

McKenzie of course isn’t in the actual NBA as we speak but with his continued development and with the assistance of his older cousin Ray K. Morris who also serves as his manager and his agent Newton Mayenge he will get there.

As Morris puts it, “The first thing I told him was that he had to learn the game and let what happened in the past stay in the past.”

That statement was said because McKenzie wasn’t blessed with a stellar career in college where he played for Northern Illinois. His numbers were: 1.3 ppg and 1.1 rpg in six career starts (79 games played).

His career highs were 16 minutes, nine points and three blocks. He attended school from 2001 to 2006 because he was redshirted his freshman year.

Morris who moved out to California to pursue movie and interests after he injured his back several years ago, was a standout three sport star in East Chicago, Indiana believes that his cousin wasn’t properly coached in his early on in his formative years.

“Sure, his stats weren’t that good at all, but that has something to do with the coaching he received or didn’t receive,” Morris added. He didn’t learn that much about basketball from his high school coach who was just starting out coaching himself when Bryson played for him in 1999-00.

With that in mind, Morris who didn’t get the chance to see his little cousin play at all until one game in his senior year as a collegiate because of the distance took matters into his own hands.

But it wasn’t until Bryson stated, “I really want to make it into the NBA”, that Morris was convinced of his commitment to the game.

With Morris’ contacts in some sports circles he got his cousin who wasn’t drafted by an NBA team an agent and he was able to latch onto a Pro Summer League Team in Long Beach, California.

And that’s where things began to really turn for the better for Bryson. In five games played, he averaged 39 minutes. In his very first game as a pro summer leaguer, Bryson hit an obscene career high of 31 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and swatted away three shots.

And to prove it wasn’t a fluke or luck, Bryson’s next game he notched 19 points, snatched 11 boards and turned back four shots. All told in the five games played, Bryson averaged an extremely impressive: 16.4 ppg, 11.2 rpg, and three blocks.

His numbers and energy level were so good that his agent was able to secure him his very first pro contract with a team in the Mexican league from July 06 to September 06.

Bryson played there until he was taken out to work out and get in even better shape with the Arsenal who are coached by former long time Houston Rockets assistant and renowned NBA rebounding machine, Larry Smith.

Bryson, who was their number one allocated player, was impressive enough in workouts that he was called for service.

Bryson isn’t putting up gaudy numbers in his first season in the D-League, but if his summer league play was any indication of his potential only time will be a factor as he continues to learn and develop his game.

He certainly has the support system in his older cousin, Ray K. Morris.