Maynard returns to his roots with Australian Rules Football career
Corey Maynard is best known in black and gold for his time as one of the most successful players in the Bryant men’s basketball program’s Division I era. Maynard would go on to play professional basketball in his native Australia and in Finland before making a career change this year, following in the footsteps of his family.
Maynard, a 1,000-point scorer at Bryant, put down the basketball and picked up a football, pursuing an opportunity in the Australian Football League.
“It’s a sport that’s been in my family – my grandfather played and coached in the professional league in Australia, my dad played and my brother currently plays,” said Maynard. “It was something that was always in my family.”
Maynard began playing AFL at around six years old in Auskick, AFL’s version of Pop Warner football. He was a two-sport athlete up until age 16, choosing basketball for the opportunity to come over to the United States and play collegiately.
Maynard signed with Melbourne FC and appeared in an AFL match for the first time when the Demons faced the GWS Giants in August. Maynard tallied one goal and 18 disposals in his first match at any level of football in nine years.
The two-sport success is rare, but not a surprise to Bryant head men’s basketball coach Tim O’Shea.
“It’s incredibly unique for anybody to play two sports professionally, but if anybody can do it, it’s Corey,” said O’Shea. “Two things that define Corey are his perseverance and his mental toughness. I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a guy as mentally and physically tough as Corey. That allowed him to have a very successful career on the basketball court, and also allowed us to grow as a program at the Division I level. Corey had a major role in that.”
Maynard ranks in the top five in Bryant’s Division I history in points, rebounds, assists and steals and is the program’s Division I career leader in steals. As a junior in 2012-13, Maynard helped the Bulldogs to the nation’s best turnaround and Bryant’s first appearance in a Division I national postseason tournament.
The 2014 Bryant alum still watches the Bulldogs whenever possible, and thankfully for technology, unaffected by the 15-hour time difference.
“Most of the games start at around 10 a.m. in Australia,” said Maynard. “Having NEC Front Row to watch the games over there has been awesome. Having the ability to watch either live or as a replay from Australia is great.”
Maynard made the trip back to Smithfield in September to play in Bryant’s inaugural alumni game. It was an opportunity to take the court with many of his former Bryant teammates, including current assistant coach Frankie Dobbs, who organized the event. It also gave Maynard a chance to see some of the facility additions and upgrades at Bryant – a highlight of the growth in the seven years since he first arrived.
“What is coming to fruition now is what I had in mind when I was being recruited,” said Maynard. “It looks like a new campus. To think that we had a role in all the opportunities that are afforded to kids that go here now, it makes you feel pretty good about what you accomplished here.”