Every team has that player who fans insist has all the talent in the world, but can never quite put it together. For the 2009-2010 UW Huskies basketball team, that player is Matthew Bryan Amaning. An athletic big man who shows occasional elite skills, he just as often shows a surprised expression as the ball bounces off his hands out of bounds. He’s played better the last few weeks, leading many to hope that he is about to become the dominant post player Dawg fans have hoped for.
I’m pretty skeptical. I think MBA will remain a semi-talented big man with good athleticism, bad hands and questionable basketball smarts. But I think we are overlooking one important piece of the puzzle in our analysis:
Matthew Bryan Amaning is a pretty sweet name.
It’s deceptively simple. None of the three names are too weird, so at first glance the only thing out of the ordinary is that there are three of them, but that’s hardly uncommon. Dig a little deeper. He has two first names, or does he? Is Bryan a second first name, or part of a hyphenated last name frequently missing the hyphen? Or is it a middle name he really likes? I was always under the impression it was a double last name, but now I’m not sure. Neither are TV announcers. They fluctuate between calling him Amaning and Bryan-Amaning before usually settling on Matthew or MBA or nothing at all, and are undoubtedly relieved when he takes his frequent seat on the bench. Maybe it’s a British by way of prep school thing. And how do you pronounce Amaning? Is it AM-an-ing? or a-MAN-ing? I’ve heard his own coach use both pronounciations in the same interview.
Wherever his meandering career takes us in the next 15 games and senior season, we will remain confused. But we will be sure of one thing: MBA in the NBA would be a good time for all.