Born on June 20, 1986, Patrick O'Bryant began playing basketball at a young age, and grew quickly. O'Bryant was 7-feet tall by the time he was 17, and made opposing players pay at every level. He developed his skills early, and blossomed throughout his youth.
At Blaine H.S. in Minnesota, he was a first-team All-Northwest Suburban Conference selection following his junior season. O’Bryant also earned second-team all-area honors from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2003, a season which saw him average 13.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.7 blocked shots per game.
O'Bryant signed a letter of intent to play for Bradley University during the November 2003 signing period, and proceeded to have a phenomenal 2004 campaign. A second-team all-state selection as a senior in 2004, O'Bryant averaged 18.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots while leading Blaine to a 24-4 record.
His arrival on the Bradley campus in Peoria, IL was widely anticipated, as the Braves hadn't featured a player of O'Bryant's stature in many years. He figured to be the force in the middle of a young lineup that would contend for the Missouri Valley Conference title within his first few years.
One of the top freshmen in the country, O’Bryant became the second freshman (Creighton’s Benoit Benjamin was the first in 1982-83) to ever lead the Missouri Valley Conference in blocked shots by averaging 2.8 per game. He Threatened to become the first-ever freshman to lead the Valley in rebounding before finishing fourth with 7.4 per game, just 0.5 behind leader Tamarr Maclin of Missouri State.
Among his other freshman year highlights, O'Bryant set Bradley's freshman record for blocked shots with 75, which was just four off Jeffrey Rabey's single-season school record. By shooting 55.7 percent from the field, O'Bryant equalled Bradley's best single-season field goal percentage since Luke Jackson set the school record at .668 during the 1987-88 season and he became just the third freshman (Deon Jackson and Hersey Hawkins) to lead the team in field goal percentage. He led the Braves with six double-doubles, second-most in the Valley. He ended the season by scoring in double figures in each of his last five games, including a 15-point, 14-rebound effort versus Indiana State in his first-ever MVC Tournament game, possibly foreshadowing a magical 2005-06 season.
O'Bryant's sophomore season didn't begin in style, as he was forced to sit out the first eight games of the season by the NCAA due to an inadvertent violation of the "extra benefit" rule during the summer. Once he got on the court, he bloomed into the stud that the Braves were looking for from day one.
Among the highlights are the fact that he neared the second triple-double in school history with 19 points, 16 rebounds and nine blocked shots Feb. 18 versus Tennessee Tech. His 19 boards at Wichita State were the most in a game by a Valley player this year. He eclipsed 200 career field goals and his .554 career field goal percentage currently ranks second in school history.
Although he played only 25 games, O’Bryant’s 72 blocked shots were good for third on Bradley’s single-season rejections list. In just two seasons, O’Bryant climbed to third on Bradley’s career list for blocked shots (147) and to 10th on the Valley’s all-time chart.
Bradley enjoyed enough late season success to warrant an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, and a first-round matchup against perennial national powerhouse Kansas. In one of the biggest upsets in recent tournament history, the Braves knocked off the fourth-seeded Jayhawks, and then defeated fifth-seeded Pittsburgh to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Their Cinderella journey ended when top-seeded and overall #4 Memphis beat them on March 23, 2006.
O'Bryant enjoyed a national coming out party during the NCAA Tournament, helping Bradley reach the Sweet 16 by averaging 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds against Kansas, Pittsburgh and Memphis. When he was matched up against Pittsburgh 7-footer Aaron Gray, O’Bryant led Bradley’s 2nd-round upset with a career-best 28 points, while adding seven rebounds.
The Golden State Warriors made O'Bryant the ninth overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. After suffering a broken foot in camp, O'Bryant will look to make a difference in the middle for a team lacking leadership and performance from the center position.
O'Bryant was averaging 1.7 points and 1.2 rebounds per game with the Golden State Warriors when he was sent to Bakersfield of the NBDL on December 31. Warriors Coach Don Nelson said that he "needs to be in an environment where he can get quality minutes." During the 2008 season of the D-League, O'Bryant averaged 12.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks in 29.8 minutes per contest. In the 2009 season, his stats improved even more: 16.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game, while getting 36.1 minutes of game.
O'Bryant made a name for himself during his sophomore campaign, and some scouts considered him the top true center prospect in the draft. After serving an eight-game NCAA suspension for being paid for work he didn't perform, O'Bryant promptly posted 33 points and 30 rebounds in his first two games. He is a legitimate 7-footer and has a 7-foot-6 wingspan. While inconsistent, O'Bryant's domination of Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray in the second round of the NCAA tournament provided a glimpse of what the future may hold. In that second-round NCAA tournament game, O'Bryant abused Gray for 28 points in Bradley's 72-66 upset of the Panthers. O'Bryant has enough post moves to be effective near the basket but is far from a finished product. He was an efficient shooter during his two years with the Braves, making more than 55 percent of his shots. While his defense will be his strongest asset his first few seasons, he can contribute offensively. O'Bryant's size and athleticism will make him an interesting prospect in the NBA.
Awards and Accomplishments
- Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year (2006)
- All-Missouri Valley Conference Tournament (2006)
- Second-Team All-Missouri Valley Conference (2006)
- Two-Time MVC Player of the Week (Jan. 3 & Feb. 20, 2006)
- Two-Time MVC Newcomer of the Week (11-29-04 & 2-28-05)
- MVC All-Newcomer Team (2005)
- MVC All-Freshmen Team (2005)