May 24, 2006

Webster will work to contribute in any way

The first player to commit to Minnesota in the class of 2006 was St. Thomas Academy center Bryce Webster. This was a very important get for coach Dan Monson as Bryce was a highly recruited local player who chose to stay home and play for the Gophers. At about 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, Webster's growth as a player has been continual as he brought his game to a new level every year and this past season he led St. Thomas to the state tournament in his senior season.

Ryan James: Can explain how your coaches at St. Thomas Academy helped you continually grow as a player and a person from year to year?

Bryce Webster: I think the main thing my high school coaches did that I really noticed and appreciated was the fact that they always ran a really structured program. The coaches ran the program at a real high level and I think that helped me a lot because it has helped prepare me for the next level of basketball. Not only did they teach us how to conduct ourselves on the court but they also taught us how to act off the court. That really helped us players also grow as people.

RJ: I was able to watch you grow for the last four years as an opposing coach and every year your game grew as first the footwork improved, then your shooting touch and offensive moves and also your aggression on the court. Who are some of the people that helped you and what were some of the difference makers?

BW: I think every year I came back to St. Thomas with more experience and a big part of that was playing for Howard Pulley over the spring and summer. As a freshman at St. Thomas, I really didn't know what was going on and I was playing behind Isaac Rosefelt (at St. Thomas University) and Dan Fitzgerald (playing at Marquette). Then I went and played my first spring season with Howard Pulley and I can't give you averages but I think I played a lot better then people thought I would. After that I played every summer with Howard Pulley and those coaches worked a lot with me one on one along with all the other players. With that I think I gained more and more confidence every year and that is a big part of basketball. And of course I played in hundreds of games every summer. In tournaments we'd play seven or eight games some times and I just gained a lot of experience over the years and that is really the main thing for me. I slowly learned what I could do, I learned my position and I learned what I could do well and what I couldn't yet do well.

RJ: Each year at St. Thomas you inched closer and closer to the state tournament. What was it like to finally get there this season?

BW: This year I think we had the memory of the way we lost last year to Richfield when we dropped a close game by one point to Richfield in the last three seconds. That was very hard and I was just very focused on getting to state this season. And to do it with a group of guys on my team that I really liked, that felt really good. But after we beat Roosevelt it was just a really good feeling. I know in the end we got third place but I was just happy to compete in the state tournament because most teams don't get a chance to play at state.

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