For Citrus senior Nick Bryant, the 2016-17 campaign was a strong one. The 6-foot-7 center made the most of his only season as a varsity starter, becoming one of the most dominating forces in the area on both ends.
Bryant averaged 12.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game to lead the Hurricanes to a surprisingly solid 14-13 season that saw them fall just short of advancing to regionals despite having zero returning starters.
Those efforts were rewarded with a spot in two separate all-star games this month.
On March 18, the Florida Athletic Coaches Association held its Boys Basketball All-Star Classic at Orange Park High.
"It was pretty cool to experience it. I was playing against really good competition. It was a great learning experience, for sure," Bryant said. "It was nothing like Citrus County. There was a kid committed to Penn State. It was great to get out there and experience the best players in Florida."
Representing FACA District 8, which covers Citrus, Lake and Sumter counties, Bryant started for the North team and scored six points, as his squad won 104-98.
"I was kind of nervous," Bryant said. "But once I got into the flow of the game, it was really cool."
On Wednesday, Bryant was back on the ’Canes’ home court one last time for the fifth annual State Farm Citrus-Hernando Basketball Senior All-Star Game.
"It was cool playing with guys from Crystal River and Lecanto, coming together to beat guys from Hernando," Bryant said. "It was hard for a center to get involved, but I stepped out and shot a few (3-pointers)."
While these games were merely exhibitions, they represented the final few times Bryant will suit up in such a setting. He has been accepted to the University of Florida, where he’ll be pursing his degree and leaving basketball, at least competitively, behind.
"It means a lot, having the hard work show through. I’m really grateful to have that great (all-star) experience and really thankful," Bryant said. "If was a nice way to end a great four years at Citrus and just having a bunch of fun."