By Tom Ballato
The NBA Draft is an event where memories are made, and franchises’ fortunes can change instantly. It is an event where the commissioner calls the names of 60 young men. Shortly after the draft, players that weren’t selected sign two-way contracts, training camp deals, or sign with a team and head to their G-League affiliate. Nonetheless, draft night is an exciting night, and C.J. Bryce is one of those players that is hoping to hear his name called.
He began his collegiate career at UNC-Wilmington after spending two seasons at North Mecklenburg High School, a talented North Carolina program. He averaged 24.0 points and 7.0 rebounds a game as a senior. As a freshman, Bryce received the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) All-Rookie Team honors. He started in 30 games as a freshman in a year where UNC-Wilmington won their conference and went to the NCAA Tournament. Bryce played well, scoring 16 points in a very close game where they lost to Duke in the first round.
Bryce was the teams’ leading scorer (17.4 points per game) and started every game during his sophomore year. He was a First-Team All-CAA selection, and UNC-Wilmington went to another NCAA Tournament.
After his sophomore year, the coaching staff at UNC-Wilmington left for NC State, and Bryce entered the transfer portal. He intended to open up his recruitment, but the coaches leaving were a factor also.
“My time at UNC-Wilmington was a great learning experience for me. Coach Kevin Keatts took a huge risk starting a freshman, and I produced. I put in a lot of work from my freshman to sophomore year, and it all paid off for us,” Bryce said.
Bryce transferred to NC State to play for his coach again. He wanted to play against the best, and moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) made the most sense. He picked NC State over Miami, Georgetown, and South Carolina.
He sat out the 2017-2018 season as a redshirt. His junior season took some to adjust in the ACC, but he was used to the system Keatts ran. The offseason was a fast-paced system that went quickly into a pick and roll offense where Bryce would get the ball on the wing.
This past season, Bryce led the team in scoring and rebounding. He suffered a concussion during the season and missed some time on the court. His college career and time at NC State came to a close when the ACC canceled their conference tournament.
He embraced being a student-athlete with everything NC State had to offer. Networking was essential, and he enjoyed hanging out on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a strip where you could get food and hang out with your friends. Bryce is into fashion and music and started a clothing brand while at NC State. His brand is called CJB, which are his initials, and it also stands for Chasing Jesus Back. He plans to explore more into his clothing line, but he is strictly focusing on playing basketball right now.
When his collegiate career ended, he started focusing on improving his game to play at the next level. Bryce can score and rebound well for a shooting guard at 6-foot-5. He is an excellent slasher with some range from the outside. In the offseason, he’s been working on improving himself at the point guard position, improving his range, and working on his form. Bryce got his teammates involved while filling in at point guard at NC State and will prove he can facilitate at the next level.
During the pandemic, the pre-draft process hasn’t been normal, but Bryce is taking things as they come. He’s been able to train regularly, and he’s heard from the Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, and Golden State Warriors.
Bryce has chosen the JCK Sports Group to represent him. “The confidence they’ve had in me from the get-go, with Kevin Martin and Jamie Knox reaching out to me. They are the guys that are networking for me right now, and they’ve done a great job at getting me connected. They are great people, and that was something I was looking for when looking for an agency,” Bryce said when speaking about his agents.
Bryce recently had his pro day in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and shot the ball well. He showed his improved range, which he’s been working on since the end of last season. The Charlotte Hornets, Toronto Raptors, and Los Angeles Clippers are some new teams that are high on him.
With the NBA as a goal in mind, Bryce has come so far and wants to continue to prepare. He’s grateful for the opportunities and is excited about the future.
Wherever C.J Bryce lands, a team will get a hard worker and a kid who can really score the ball.