Norfolk State basketball star Joe Bryant was one of the standout players at Friday’s 2023 NABC-Reese’s Division I All-Star Game. The only player from an HBCU who competed in the contest, Bryant was named the MVP of the East team.
The West team beat Joe Bryant and the East All-Stars 104-99 in overtime. Bryant led all scorers in the NABC-Reese’s Division I All-Star Game with 22 points. The HBCU star also had six rebounds.
“Just want to give a lot of credit to these guys for bringing the best out of me,” Bryant said after the game, via hbcusports.com. “My teammates put me in a position to be great and effective to score, and I trusted myself to be able to score.”
In his fifth and final year at Norfolk State, Bryant averaged a team-high 17.8 points to go along with 4.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Bryant led the Spartans to the MEAC Championship Game, where the team fell just short. Howard beat Norfolk State 65-64 to punch their ticket to the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Bryant and Norfolk State were eliminated from the first round of the NCAA Tournament in both 2021 and 2022. Howard challenged Kansas early in the first round of this year’s tournament before the Jayhawks pulled away. Despite those defeats, Bryant believes that his performance Friday at NRG Stadium was a statement regarding the kind of talent that HBCUs boast.
“[My performance proved] that HBCUs belong,” Bryant said. “I feel like a lot of the time they categorize HBCU’s and PWI’s in a different category, but in reality, we’re all the same. We all got the same talent and we all bleed the same. It showed tonight.”
The NABC-Reese’s Division I All-Star Game featured the top seniors in college basketball. New Mexico’s Morris Udeze was named the MVP of the West with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
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