Holden Bryant: Bartlesville Character Counts – Presented by Excel Therapy

Excel basketball

By Chad Waters 

Put in the work and the opportunity will come.

That’s what 6-foot-7 Bartlesville center Holden Bryant did throughout his high school basketball career. And with less than a month left in the regular season, the senior is looking to make the most of his final season in Bartlesville.

Bryant earned the full-time starting job this season and since then coach Clent Stewart has seen him be more aggressive on both sides of the ball.

“For [Holden] it’s about defense and rebounding,” Stewart said. “And he’s been clogging up the middle and rebounding for us on both sides of the ball…Internally we recognize what he does for our team on the court.”

Holden is second on the team in rebounds, averaging a little more than five per game, and leads the Bruins in blocks (0.5 per game). Although he hardly shoots, Bryant is shooting 67 percent from the field.

“He’s one of those glue guys who is not going to get all the accolades, but he definitely helps us in many other ways,” Stewart said.

But getting on the court didn’t come easy.


Bryant has battled through adversity during his varsity years, playing behind one of the Bruins better players, Barron Tanner, for his first three seasons. Stewart credits Barron for shaping Holden into the physical player he is today.

“He’s waited his turn,” Stewart said. “Barron took Holden under his wing and would go against him every day. So, for Holden it was going against our best player and learning a lot from him. Now Holden is taking guys under his wing to mentor them.”

But the adversity didn’t stop this season.

A couple of days after the Bruins first practice Bryant started throwing up, unsure as to the cause of it.

“I went through all of these tests and they couldn’t really pin point it,” Holden said.

Eventually doctors discovered it was a gallbladder problem, so they but Holden on a diet to where he could eat certain foods without getting sick. Holden fought through it during several practices and games before having to get his gallbladder removed during Christmas Break.

“I played through it, but it really took a toll on me,” Holden said.

Not letting the sickness affect his play on the court, Holden wouldn’t let it do the same off the court.

Being dedicated in the classroom, Holden plans to further his education at Kansas State University, where his mother, Julie, and brother, Hayden, attended as well. Holden plans to major in mechanical engineering while in Manhattan.

Being Bartlesville’s glue guy, Holden’s play the rest of the way will have a lot to do with how far the No. 18 Bruins team goes come regionals, which start on February 21.