Though the Bakersfield Jam dropped their opening two games of the new season to the Idaho Stampede this past weekend, there's no denying the team is still one destined for great things this coming year.
On the heels of a first seed finish in the D-League last season, Bakersfield certainly hopes to duplicate such success this year. They're now led by returning top notch NBA prospect James Nunnally (the guard spent training camp with the Phoenix Suns this fall) and an interesting band of promising new prospects from A to Z. Along with Nunnally, Brian Butch and Mac Koshwal have also returned for yet another year.
With their eyes on another successful season, the Jam announced a promotion for a member of their staff who was a big part of last season's great run.
Bakersfield has officially promoted John Bryant from assistant coach to Associate Head Coach. Such a new position is certainly well deserved. What's more, as he climbs up the ranks through a league that values development and progression, along with Coach Bryant's promotion comes an interesting wrinkle from his past that truly represents what the minor league is all about.
The D-League obviously not only prides itself on providing that necessary assist to young players on their way up, but also coaches, executives, and officials as well. Coach Bryant happens to represent two of those very fields quite well.
Before making himself known as a coach, Bryant appeared on Bakersfield's radar after making his mark via an open tryout as a player. He played a key role for the team during the 2010-11 season, and the Jam appreciated his efforts enough to keep him in the fold as a member of head coach Will Voigt's staff.
Needless to say, Coach Bryant is not only a great mentor for these young players because he understands the game so well, but also due to the fact that he's been through what each one of them is going through, and can relate to them with ease.
During the team's open tryout session in Atlanta this past fall, we spoke to Coach Bryant about his continued impact with the Jam.
The Bakersfield Jam is one of three remaining D-League teams with multiple NBA affiliates. The team is affiliated with the Suns, Jazz, Clippers, Raptors, and Hawks.