Bethel Women’s Basketball Signs Lady Lion Standout Millie Bryant
BY KENNETH COKER
Dresden Enterprise Sports Editor
DRESDEN (March 22) — Surrounded by family, fellow teammates, coaches and well-wishers, Dresden High School senior and three-year Lady Lion basketball starter Millie Bryant signed with Bethel Basketball.
“It’s awesome,” Bryant said of inking with the Lady Wildcat program. “I’m really excited for the opportunity and it means a lot.”
The daughter of Kim Bryant of Dresden, Millie will major in Biology.
An excellent student, Millie is a member of the Beta Club, FCA, HOSA and Student Council.
Bryant recently concluded her high school career at Dresden with her second appearance in the TSSAA Class A State Tournament.
Over the course of Bryant’s career, the Lady Lions combined for a 104-32 worksheet with two state tournament berths and four sectional game appearances. Dresden claimed three District 13A championships with Bryant on the roster and the program’s first regional crown since 1990.
During the 2016-17 campaign, Bryant averaged 7.6 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game and 4.6 assists per game. The 5-foot-8 guard and defensive specialist totaled 100 steals as a senior.
“I could’ve scored more points, but my job was to create opportunities for my teammates to score,” explained Bryant, who totaled 704 points, 456 rebounds, 360 assists and 256 steals during her career at DHS.
Now, Bryant will move up the road at Bethel where her parents and five siblings can watch her play at home on a regular basis.
“It’s nice being so close to home so my family can come and watch me play,” Bryant said. “I also know a lot of the girls on the team. I like the coaching staff and my future teammates at Bethel.”
At Bethel, Bryant is expected to be more of a scoring threat, according to head coach Chris Nelson.
“We want her to shoot the ball more,” Nelson said. “In Dresden’s situation this year, she didn’t have to shoot as much. We’re going to ask her to shoot more. I think she can play at the 1,2 or 3. We’re losing our point guard, but in our system, the same player can be our 1,2 or 3. And if we play four guards, we’ll be good because of her size.”
Nelson told Bryant’s size was a determining factor in his program’s recruiting of the Dresden standout.
“Her toughness is a good fit with the local players we got last year like Morgan Martin (of Bradford),” Nelson said. “She’s a tough, local kid with great stature. She doesn’t look like a typical freshman coming in (to college). She’s already got good size.”
For now, Bryant – who competed at the TSSAA Class A-AA Track and Field Championships as a junior – is unable to utilize her frame for much of anything while nursing an ankle injury suffered during the Lady Lions’ defeat at this year’s state basketball tournament.
“I’m supposed to go to the doctor next week,” said Bryant, who was twice both an All-District 13A and All-Region 7A performer. “They’ll tell me how long my therapy is going to be and if I’ll get my boot off. I’m probably going to focus on basketball from now on. I probably won’t be back in time for track.”
Despite Bryant’s track future being in question, Nelson did note the versatility of Bryant’s athletic abilities factored into drawing Bethel’s attention.
“The big thing is she’s able to make big strides,” Nelson said. “A lot of incoming freshmen struggle with speed, size and the physicality of the game. I don’t think that’ll be an issue with Millie. Her ability to go past opponents with one or two dribbles and get to the basket is one thing that stood out.”
In addition, Nelson said Bryant’s excitement about the program along with familiarity with the local hoopster sealed the recruitment.
“It was good to see her out there on our court during the region tournament,” Nelson said. “During the summer, they come to our summer camp and get to play in our gym. With Dresden being 15 minutes up the road, we got to see them work out before the season. Once we showed interest, Millie started coming to a lot of our games. Every time they didn’t have a game, I would look up and she was in the stands. I think her knowing a lot of the local talent we’ve gotten over the last couple of years and seeing them with us was the way she was able to picture herself out on the court.”