Manchester Giants have completed the signing of dynamic American point guard Tyrik Armstrong, a Houston native who joins after a successful NCAA Division One career at Texas Southern where he was known for his ability to score and facilitate at a high level as a big game player.
The 5’10” lefty was elected to the Southwestern Athletic Conference 1st Team in 2020 after averaging 14 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals per game as a senior, shooting 47% from the field and 42% from beyond the three-point line, also making 85% of his free-throws.
Armstrong broke out in the latter stages of his junior season, 2018-19, as the Tigers finished runners-up in both the conference regular season and tournament, as he played more minutes than any other player in the conference in the post-season. He scored in double-figures in every play-off game that year, including 16 points and 5 assists in vain in the final.
His chances of avenging that were curtailed by the pandemic, as he became team leader in 2019-20 upon the graduation of a number of his teammates, and he led the Tigers to third in the conference and through the first round of the conference tournament, with 14 points and 5 assists in that game in March last year.
Perhaps the high point of Armstrong’s collegiate career came as Texas Southern was invited to the post-season CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) in 2018-19, where he made an extraordinary run to the semi-finals and was elected to the All-Tournament 1st Team after battling through a number of overtime games.
Giants owner Jamie Edwards says that the key to Giants’ improvement was “improved defence, mental discipline and a dynamic playmaker”, something which he believes Armstrong will deliver.
“I believe this is a player who fans and players alike will enjoy watching,” said Edwards. “He is exciting to watch, he reads the game, pushes the ball and creates for others and more importantly is at an age where he can grow with us.”
Armstrong also holds the CIT single-game records for both steals, with seven in a one-point overtime defeat to Green Bay in the semi-final, and also for minutes played as he didn’t rest while playing all 55 minutes in a triple-overtime victory over the University of Louisiana Monroe, scoring 32 points and handing out eight assists in the quarter-final win.
Texas Southern is also notorious for playing a tough non-conference schedule and for Armstrong that included 21 points and 6sixassists on 75% shooting against Oregon, and current Boston Celtics point guard Payton Pritchard; as well as 15 points against both Arkansas and Gonzaga. He tied his career-high with 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists against Nevada in December 2019.
Previously, he attended Weatherford College in Texas – the same Junior College as former Giants’ favourite Vlatko Granic – where he was an All-Conference Second Team selection in 2017-18, averaging 16 points, five assists and three rebounds per game. Overall on his four year college career, Armstrong was a 38% three-point shooter, 49% on the inside, and 83% at the free-throw line.
“I’m blessed and overly excited to start my professional career with Manchester Giants,” said Armstrong. “I’m ready to embrace the culture there and bring excitement to our fans.