Matthew Bryan-Amaning heads to South Korea on Thursday night after signing with KBL side Anyang KGC.
The 6’9″ athletic forward was drafted with the first pick in the second round of the 2013 KBL draft after attending a camp in Vegas straight after NBA Summer League with the Chicago bulls.
He says the move also comes due to the growing economic problems in Europe that are affecting basketball leagues across the continent.
“Asia’s a very good market,” said Bryan-Amaning after making a guest appearance for London Lions against Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday night. “A lot of problems are going on; the economy isn’t great in Europe and Asia you’re guaranteed your money, you’re going to get it in time there’s never been any problems with it.
“I felt Asia was the next step for me, it was about placing and Korea was a big opportunity. They’ve been waiting for me to come to camp for about two years now since I graduated college and I was able to finally come and able to get picked up right away.”
“MBA”, as he is known, spent last season with Serbian side KK Radnički Kragujevac, where he averaged 8.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in just 16.7 minutes per game. In his rookie year out of the University of Washington he signed in Turkey, with Hacettepe.
Korea will no doubt be a cultural adjustment, both on and off the court, where teams are only allowed one foreigner on the court at any one time.
“There’s two foreigners on each team,” continued MBA. “Only one’s allowed on the court at once, so obviously when I first get out there I’m going to be fighting for my spot. I want to start obviously, myself and him, his name’s Sean Evans, he went to St Johns and played in the D-League last year, we’ll be fighting for our spot, but either way we’re both very good and talented players I don’t think the team’s going to go wrong whichever way they pick but we’ll be sharing the minutes.
“I believe if I’m hot one game I’ll play a lot more than he will, if he’s hot then he’ll play more than I will. It’s just going to be a balance but I want to go out there look to dominate and establish my position right away.”
His new contract also means he will be unable to suit up for GB this summer. MBA was announced on the preliminary squad list, and despite ongoing discussions with new head coach Joe Prunty, they have been unable to come to terms.
“Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to play. What happened was, the team in Korea is very strict and also the league is very strict; if you sign a contract and take your signing bonus but don’t turn up when the team wants you to turn up, the player and also the agent that represents that player will get banned from the league for five years and that’s illegal.
“So they were trying to work out something, coach Prunty was talking with my agent that handles Korea, and talking with my team and they were trying to sort out something, but as Eurobasket is so late this year and doesn’t start ’til September I wont get done til mid/end of September and that’s too late as my season will be starting around the first week of October.”
Bryan-Amaning will become the third Brit in Asia, joining GB forward Dzaflo Larkai, who plays in Japan, and coach Tim Lewis, who has taken over the helm of Hitachi SunRockers this season, also in Japan.