Having only turned just 15 years old when he helped Team USA to capture the gold medal at the 2021 FIBA U16 Americas Championship, it’s safe to say that 6’7” forward Bryson Tucker of Mount St. Joseph High School (MD) is a special talent. At the tournament, Tucker averaged a productive 9.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 18.8 minutes per game. A polished player with pro-level maturity in his offensive game, the class of 2024 prospect is poised and patient getting to his spots on the floor. His prowess as a shot creator and shot maker comes from sound footwork and efficient usage of dribbles. This year, Tucker led Mount St. Joseph to a 32-7 record, as well as Baltimore Catholic League tournament and Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association titles. While he will not participate in AAU this summer due to the wear and tear, the elite rising junior will look to be an integral piece of the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team program.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Tucker discussed modeling his game after his father and Penny Hardaway, his short term goal to represent USA Basketball this summer, his commitment to academics, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Bryson Tucker, from Bowie, Maryland:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
Bryson Tucker: The main background…I started basketball when I was like five [years old] and [my dad] has been my main trainer and he's really done everything basketball-wise for me thus far.
PI: Besides your dad, are there any other athletes in the family?
BT: Well my mother, she ran track. My dad’s brother, his name is Bryan.
He played basketball as well.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
BT: Yes, I played soccer.
PI: When did you know you were going to devote yourself full-time to basketball?
BT: I mean it started at five [years old] when we mainly started basketball 'cause I knew I didn't want to do anything else like football or soccer or anything like that. I just wanted to mainly focus on basketball.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
BT: I would say my IQ — like my understanding of the game — that takes me a long way for sure, like reading defenses and when I get to my spots…I feel like nobody can really guard it. I just gotta get there, do my moves, and just read the defense like I said earlier.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
BT: My father and then like Penny Hardaway, 'cause he's a big guard.
PI: Who has been the toughest individual matchup you’ve ever faced?
BT: Probably Jeff Dowtin. When we would play pickup, he's a lot of competition.
PI: What do you feel you still need to improve on the most? What have you been working on?
BT: Right now, I'm just working on my condition and strength so I can be ready for USA Basketball this summer. I would also like to improve my flexibility.
PI: What are your current measurements?
BT: I’m 6’7”, 195 [pounds] with a 6’9” wingspan.
PI: What type of leader are you?
BT: I lead by example, like what I do. I just see like a lot of my teammates, they try to do that type of stuff and they get better obviously.
PI: Do you have a training regimen?
BT: We go for makes. We don't go for shots. That's the main thing.
PI: What is your target for made baskets each day?
BT: That's a good question. I feel like we just work until we see. I feel like we just work to be honest and then once my dad sees my body is fatigued, then he gives me breaks [and] stuff like that.
PI: What are your short term goals you have for yourself as a player?
BT: Make the USA team again, for sure. Get another gold medal — that's big. And then just keep getting better.
PI: By the way, congrats on your selection to the USA Basketball Junior Men’s National Team April minicamp. Describe your previous experience with the USAB U16 team.
BT: It was big. You know it was my first time being out of the country by myself. And that was my first time being out of the country playing basketball, so I had to get used to that. Yeah, it was big, especially in training camp playing against all like the best players and just actually making the team. So yeah, it was a lot.
PI: Who did you enjoy playing with on that team?
BT: I enjoyed playing with everyone. All of the players brought something different to the table.
PI: What are you hoping to build upon from last time?
BT: Handling the ball more. That's my main goal.
PI: How do you see your role at the next level?
BT: I'm a leader. I feel like I can get my teammates involved. When you need a bucket, I can get you a bucket, for sure. And I mean I'm just a player. Whatever you need, I can go get it.
PI: Your plan is to train this summer instead of competing in AAU, is that still correct?
BT: Ah yessir. Right now, as of now, yes. We are not against AAU. This allows me to work on weaknesses and build on strengths versus wear and tear of games.
PI: What is your mindset in terms of getting reps this summer?
BT: I plan to do a lot of individual work along with playing a lot of 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 3-on-3, so I can work on my game.
PI: Turning to a bit of recruitment, how did it feel to earn an offer from Duke?
BT: It was big. It's a big accomplishment 'cause you know, they are one of the blue bloods. So yeah, it was a lot.
PI: Did you have a dream school growing up?
BT: No, sir.
PI: There are a lot more post-grad options available these days with G League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Have you and your family done much research into those opportunities?
BT: We haven't heard from them, but we do research on everybody just to get a thought of what they're doing. All options are on the table based on where my development is at that time. So for example, if OTE or the G League is the best option at that time, we will explore it.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
BT: That's a good question. My biggest interest outside of basketball…I love to ride my bike. That's my main thing. And school you know, you always gotta do good in school, so keep trying to get straight-As each quarter. Just keep that up.
PI: Are you more of a mountain biker or road cycler?
BT: It's on the road. I mean I’d go in the mountains. I mean I just ride my bike, I'm just outside.
PI: What is your favorite subject?
BT: Math, for sure.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
BT: Actually I don't have that. Yeah, that's a good question. I don't have it.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
BT: #Patience. I try to be patient and deliberate. Just doing things the right way.
PI: If you were stuck forever on a deserted island and had all the food, water, and shelter you needed — what three personal items would you bring?
BT: My family, of course. You know, even though we're deserted, I still want to have them with me. Personal belongings…I’d bring my bike. You know, riding my bike on the island. Yeah, I don't really know the other things. Oh, I would probably like to brush my teeth and like shower and all that type stuff so bring those essentials. Yeah, that's really it.
PI: If you woke up tomorrow to see a fortune in your bank account, what would be your first purchase?
BT: It’ll probably be a car. You know, I can't drive yet. Probably just a car and work on it, you know.
PI: If you weren’t pursuing a career as a professional hooper, what do you think you would choose to do?
BT: Probably like a coach, trainer or something like that. Just to stay in the game.
PI: Which level would you want to be involved at?
BT: Either college or the pros.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
BT: “Get through the adversity” and “be patient.” And I think the adversity part comes from USA Basketball, because that's something that they really drove home. And ever since I was little, my dad just always told me just to have a lot of patience throughout the process.
PI: Talk about a time or story in your life that you feel has really shaped who you are today.
BT: Probably when my dad was coaching me in Bowie Boys & Girls Club.
That’s when I actually started playing competition-wise, and so that was the main thing 'cause he was my coach and he would just walk me through all the certain things.
PI: Who’s someone you really look up to?
BT: Oh yeah, my father for sure. He's my main role model.
PI: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
BT: When someone does something wrong and they just keep doing it.
PI: Are you an introvert or extrovert?
BT: An introvert.
PI: How would you define the word ‘success?’
BT: When you have a goal and you achieve it.
PI: Besides the NBA, where do you see yourself in five years?
BT: In college.
PI: What is your favorite brand?
BT: I would say right now I prefer to wear Nike.
PI: What are your favorite kicks to hoop in?
BT: Kyries. Kyries, by far.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
BT: Patient. Smart. Listener. Hardworking.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
BT: Probably being like an NBA legend. You still gotta get there, but I feel like when I get there, I just want to achieve the highest place you can go. Just be like a legend. Off the court, just being a good person when I get there. Somehow just figure out how to just get through the weeds and just continue to be a good person and to help the people that really want help. Being a good person for sure.