Athlete of the week: Guerin Catholic junior Cardinal gets boost from basketball pedigree


Although he played basketball, football and lacrosse through his freshman year at Guerin Catholic High School, it seemed a given that Bryson Cardinal would eventually concentrate on basketball.

After all, his father, Brian Cardinal, was a Purdue University standout who played 12 seasons in the NBA, and his mother, Danielle (Bird) Cardinal, was a Purdue women’s basketball player and is now Guerin’s girls basketball coach.

“I consulted my coaches and my parents just about what was going to be best for me for my sophomore year, and I decided to play AAU, which I think really helped me to develop as a basketball player,” said Bryson, now a junior. “On that team, I played a lot of the perimeter, so I think that really helped me this year to understand where I can get shots from, whether it’s dribble pull-ups or setting a good screen for someone to slip in, and not just playing that inside guy, the center.”

It wasn’t an easy decision for the Westfield resident, because he played lacrosse for several years and enjoyed it.

“But I started to realize that playing college basketball was really my dream of my future,” Bryson said,

Entering the Class 3A sectional opener against Indianapolis Herron Feb. 27, Bryson, who is nearly 6-foot-8, is averaging 13.5 points and eight rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles (17-7). That’s more than double last season’s scoring average of 6.1.

“His offense has really improved,” Guerin Catholic coach Bob Allen said. “He can score from inside and out and he is another player that our opponents have to prepare for. At times, he commands a double team, which is helping some of our other guys to get open looks.”

Allen said Bryson’s game is similar to his father’s.

“Like his father, he is an ultimate competitor,” Allen said. “He wants to win, and he understands the importance of every play, which is why he isn’t afraid to dive for a loose ball or take a charge in a crunch-time situation.”

Allen said his play has definitely attracted interest from NCAA Division I coaches.

“There is no doubt in my mind that he can play at the next level, and he will continue to improve every day,” Allen said.

Like his father, Bryson said his play sometimes irritates opposing teams and fans.

“There’s been a couple of games this season where I’ve had parents yelling at me and coaches yelling at me just because I like to do the dirty work,” he said. “I like to dive on the floor. I like to take the charges. One of my favorite things is guarding one of their bigger or better players and just try to get in their head and being a good hard-nosed player.”


Favorite athlete: Dirk Nowitzki

Favorite subject: English

Favorite movies: “Star Wars” series

Favorite genre of music: Rap