Chris Silva, the undisputed best dunker on South Carolina’s basketball team, has had competition this preseason.
Keyshawn Bryant stands 6-foot-6, weighs 190 pounds and has no fear in challenging the reigning SEC defensive player of the year.
“He always tries to posterize me for some reason,” Silva said Wednesday during SEC media day. “Any time we’re at practice, we’re always talking about who’s gonna catch who first. And at least twice in practice somebody tries to dunk on somebody else.”
USC’s 2018 recruiting class was headlined by A.J. Lawson, a four-star prospect from Canada, and Jermaine Couisnard, a guard from East Chicago who drew interest from the likes of Kansas, Ohio State and West Virginia. Bryant, a wing from Winter Haven, Florida, was a late under-the-radar pickup.
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This week, Coach Frank Martin and his Carolina players have been asked about potential impact rookies. Lawson’s been mentioned, sure, but Bryant hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Said sophomore swingman Justin Minaya: “A.J.’s really athletic. And same with Keyshawn. Those two guys are really good. They’ve been really athletic. I think they’re going to be really good for us.”
Said sophomore forward Felipe Haase: “Keyshawn, his athleticism can really help us through how hard we play defense and stuff. So he can help us a lot.”
Said Martin: “Keyshawn Bryant has a dunk every day in practice that I sit there and I’m like, ‘How’d he do that?’ I don’t think I’ve ever had, including my high school days, a guy that is as explosive as Keyshawn is at attacking the rim and dunking balls.”
Martin went on to compare him to Bill Walker, a high-flying forward he coached at Kansas State who spent six seasons in the NBA.
“Him and Chris have had a couple times where they’ve met at the same time, like up there,” Martin said. “And I’m like, ‘Wow, I haven’t had two guys like that in a while.’”
Who wins those matchups? The senior says he’s gotten the better of the freshman -- to this point.
“He’s tried a couple times (to dunk on me) and I’ve blocked it,” Silva said.