COLUMBIA — On any given weekday during the basketball season, Kevin Bryant walks into Douglass High School about the time most students are leaving. On days after a Douglass game, he brings a tape of the game with him for the coaches and players to review. Bryant has been taping the games for the Douglass Bulldogs for the past four seasons. But his involvement with the team goes beyond just filming.
Bryant is the father of Douglass senior Landon Boone. He is the security director at the Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center, and he usually stops by basketball practice on his way home from work.
“I’m there to do whatever the coaches need to have done,” Bryant said.
He has certainly been true to his word by helping the program in the offseason. Bryant has coached many of the Douglass players in various summer basketball leagues since they were in middle school. Alsohe has coached them in AAU competition, the Sturgeon summer league and he even had them play in the adult division of the Moonlight Hoops league in the summer at Douglass Park because he thought it would make the team better.
“I try to push them to give 100 percent all of the time,” Bryant said.
His players agree.
“He just doesn’t give us a break when he coaches us in the summer,” Brandon Gleeson, a Douglass junior, said.
However, Bryant’s efforts to help the team aren’t limited to coaching in the summer.
“He is our biggest fan,” said Boone, who says that Bryant is a catalyst in building a sense of community around the team and within the team.
At last season’s senior night game, Bryant had shirts made that read “Douglass Bulldogs” on the front. On the back they read “Family Grows, Plays and Stays Together.” Every two weeks or so, Bryant will have the team over to his house for dinner and to watch game tapes or play video games.
“To me, Douglass Basketball is like a big family,” Bryant said.
Bryant has also done a lot of one-on-one training with his son, especially in Boone’s first three years of high school. He admits, though, he has backed off the personal training with his son a little this year.
“I figure that if he doesn’t have it by now, he isn’t going to get it,” Bryant said.
It is safe to assume that Boone does, in fact, have it. He has scored more than 1,000 points in his high school career.
Bryant plans to see his son go on to play college basketball, but he also wishes to see the other Douglass players and the team as a whole succeed. He is sure to be found filming games from the stands, just to lend a hand at the rest of the Bulldogs’ games this season.