Born: April 25, 1965
Town: South Orange, New Jersey
Mark Craig Bryant was born April 25, 1965 in Glen Ridge. He grew up in South Orange and attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, a school more famous for its entertainment alum (Frank Langella, Lauryn Hill, Max Weinberg) than its sports stars. Joetta Clark, four years older than Mark, still rates as the Cougars’ most accomplished athlete. Mark grew to 6’9” while attending Columbia and in 1983–84 led the school to the sectional finals and was named to the all-state squad. For his career at Columbia, Mark established new school records with 1,254 points, 966 rebounds and 139 blocked shots.
Mark was recruited nationally but chose to stay close to home. P.J. Carlesimo was doing good things with the Seton Hall basketball program so Mark decided to play for the Pirates. He played power forward and was a First-Team All-Big East pick as a senior in 1987–88. That season, Mark teamed with John Morton and Ramon Ramos to lead the Pirates to their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Mark averaged 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Against Big East opponents, his numbers were even better. The Pirates went 22–13, beating UTEP in their opening-round game and then losing to #1 seed Arizona in the next round. The following year, Seton Hall went all the way to the Final Four.
Mark with a rookie power forward for the Portland Trailblazers by then. They had selected him with the 21st pick in the first round of the draft. Mark split time with 38-year-old Caldwell Jones and averaged 5 points and 8 rebounds a game. The following season, the Blazers acquired Buck Williams, relegating Mark to a reserve role for the rest of his time in Portland. He played that role exceptionally well, contributing key minutes to Portland’s runs to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992.
After seven years with the Blazers, Mark became a classic NBA journeyman, playing for 9 teams over the next 8 seasons. In order, he suited up for the Rockets, Suns, Bulls, Cavs, Mavericks, Spurs, 76ers, Nuggets and Celtics. In 1996, he was part of the deal that sent Charles Barkley from the Rockets to the Suns. His year with Cleveland (1999–00) was his only year as a starter.
After his 15-year NBA career, Mark worked in player development for the Mavs, and Orlando Magic. In 2007, he was hired by the Seattle Supersonics as an assistant and continued in that role after the team became the Oklahoma City Thunder.