There is a whole lot of sunshine in Tanner Bryant’s future.
The Miami Trace senior recently signed a letter of intent to continue her education and basketball career at Florida Gulf Coast University, which is located in Fort Meyers.
“Toward the end of my recruiting process, I had it narrowed down to Florida Gulf Coast, Western Michigan, Miami (of Ohio) and Canisius,” Bryant said. “I took a few visits to all of the schools. My last two were Florida Gulf Coast and Western Michigan.
“Florida kind of felt more like home,” Bryant said. “Jenna Cobb is an assistant coach there. That was really nice having her there. She kind of got my foot in the door. Coach (Karl) Smesko is an amazing coach. The campus is beautiful.
“That school was probably my top level school as far as the play,” Bryant said. “It’s the toughest competition, so I felt like going there would give me the best opportunity to grow as a player and a person. Nothing against the other schools.”
Bryant has thoroughly enjoyed her time at Miami Trace High School.
“It’s been amazing,” Bryant said. “I wouldn’t choose any other school. The friends and the people here that I’ve experienced everything with have made everything worthwhile.
“Going to State (in 2017) was an amazing experience,” Bryant said. “And I got to do that with my best friends. Even just sitting here today, being able to sign with all of my friends by my side, just shows how close we are as a team. Every single person is here. It’s nothing individual; we’re all together as one.”
Bryant has chosen as her major Bio engineering.
“You can go into medical school with that major or you can just take the engineering route,” Bryant said. “It just gives me more options.”
No one gets to this stage in their life alone.
“Jesus Christ is my saviour,” Bryant said. “None of this would be possible without Him. He’s given me all the ability and all the gifts to be able to play this game and I’m always thankful for that.
“My family, my parents, of course,” Bryant said. “Since I was little, they’ve always guided me to be the best person I can be. In basketball, they’ve always made sure I gave 110 percent. I think that’s gotten me where I am.
“My sisters are my best friends,” Bryant said. “They’ve always been beside me.”
In the high school classroom, Bryant said her favorite subject is math.
“Mr. (Chris) Miller is probably my favorite teacher,” Bryant said. “He’s here today and I thank him a lot.
“All of my coaches, in AAU and high school,” Bryant said. “Ben (Ackley) has always been my No. 1 supporter through everything.
“I always feel like I’ve been surrounded by an amazing support system,” Bryant said. “That’s kind of gotten me to where I am today.”
What about the amount of work it will take to flourish at the Division I level of basketball?
“It’s definitely going to be a job,” Bryant said. “They are giving me this opportunity to play, so, I know I’m going to have to devote even more time than I do now. That’s something I’m excited about. I’m not scared or nervous; I’m ready for it. It’s a new step in my life and I’m really excited about it.”
“Tanner is very deserving,” Miami Trace head coach Ben Ackley said. “She’s had a great first three years at Miami Trace. She led us to the second Final Four in school history (the first was in 2010).
“She’s been Second Team, All-Ohio,” Ackley said. “She’s the hardest worker I’ve ever coached. She loves the game. When she’s in the gym, that’s home to her. She works extremely hard. She’s very coach-able. She’s made drastic improvements from the time she was a freshman until now.
“She had, I think, upwards of 15 offers, so I know it was a tough decision for her,” Ackley said. “We think she’ll have a very successful career at Florida Gulf Coast and she’ll fit in because she’s going to do everything they ask of her and work extremely hard. She’s great in the classroom. She just does everything the right way.”
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