Xavier Bryant’s father played football in college. His mother was a basketball player. He couldn’t choose a favorite parent, so how could Bryant choose just one sport?
Fortunately, the Greenhill senior has proven himself as a standout both on the gridiron and the hardwood, and has learned to balance the demands of football and basketball.
“I found out I’m pretty good at both,” Bryant said. “I basically did it to make my parents happy.”
He admits that basketball has always been his sport of choice.
He plays year-round, with Greenhill in the winter and in top-level select tournaments during the summer.
In November, the point guard signed a Division I scholarship offer with Sam Houston State University.
“He’s a pretty special player,” said Greenhill boys basketball coach Joey Sims. “He’s a competitive kid. He wants to go out and prove himself every time on the floor.”
Bryant is a four-year starter for the Hornets, and last year was named most valuable player for a squad that finished 28-8 and placed third in the SPC tournament.
He’s also become a more vocal leader.
[pullquote-left]“I basically did it to make my parents happy.” -Xavier Bryant[/pullquote-left]
“He does a good job in the locker room, keeping the kids upbeat,” Sims said. “He motivates them and pushes them along. That’s one of the biggest strides I’ve seen him make.”
He played 7-on-7 flag football as a middle schooler at a small private school in south Dallas, but didn’t pick it up again until late in his sophomore year at Greenhill.
“At first I just played it because all my friends played,” Bryant said. “But as the years went by, I really started to like it.”
Bryant was the team’s top receiver this season in catches, yards, and touchdowns, and also made an impact with some interceptions as a defensive back.
The Hornets reached the SPC championship game for the first time in almost two decades.
Two-sport athletes are nothing unusual at Greenhill.
A handful of Bryant’s basketball teammates come from either football or volleyball. So they face some of the same challenges that come with a short turnaround between seasons.
Bryant shows up at school early almost every day.
On days the Hornets don’t have a weightlifting session for football, he’s typically in the gym dribbling a ball and getting some shots up.
“It’s always going to be a hard transition,” Bryant said. “The hardest part is the conditioning and the style of the games.”
For somebody who grew up in an athletic family, such a hectic schedule has always been part of Bryant’s lifestyle.
“It keeps me busy,” he said. “Before high school, with my club team it was year-round. We played during the summer, so playing all the time was something I was used to.”