MORGANTOWN - It was hard to read the Big East memo sent out on Monday about Truck Bryant being named the league's player of the week and not get a bit of a chuckle out of it.
Oh, it's not that I found Bryant winning the award for the first time in his career all that funny. I mean, the guy did score 24 and a career-high 27 points last week against two high majors, Kansas State and Miami. He made a personal-best five 3-pointers against Miami and it took him only seven attempts. The guy played 50 minutes against K-State and turned the ball over just once. And he's even seemed to turn his free-throw shooting around, making 13-of-16.
No, what I had to snicker over a bit was the last line of the memo from the Big East, which pointed out that after those two games Bryant had raised his average to an even 17 points per game. Keep that number in mind.
When I saw it, I immediately flashed back to an October conversation with the senior guard from Brooklyn, one in which he was talking about having more of a green light to shoot this season with freshmen Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne around to occupy the point guard spot.
Bryant compared it to the situation of his old AAU teammate, Kemba Walker, at Connecticut last year.
"[Having a green light to shoot] is a lot easier. Look at Kemba's situation. He has a green light and he's throwing the ball off the backboard and getting layups,'' Bryant said. "But [coach Bob Huggins] always gave me the green light anyway. Some things were limited, but anything you can do to make a good play, he doesn't care what it is.''
As I pointed out back then, chances are Huggins would not see throwing the ball off the backboard and laying in the ricochet as a good play. Then again, if Bryant becomes the shooting guard that he and Huggins apparently envision him being, well, why not?
"It depends on what I'm averaging,'' Bryant laughed when asked in October if that might be part of his repertoire. "[If I'm averaging] 17, yeah, the ball's going off the backboard.''
All right, so perhaps Bryant has undergone a change of heart since the preseason. Maybe shooting 23 percent on his 3-pointers prior to the Miami game on Saturday was sobering. Perhaps the 23 turnovers against 26 assists (not a great ratio) has been a wake-up call.
It seems as if something has sparked Bryant of late because he's certainly taking his shooting more seriously - and not the H-O-R-S-E shots that would include bouncing the ball off the backboard.
There have been times during Bryant's four years here when if you stuck around after a West Virginia game you might very well see him taking shot after shot after shot. More recently, though, you'd have to show up earlier.