Monday, July 14, 2014

Sold On Brey's System, Ryan Chooses Notre Dame

Iona Prep's Matt Ryan emerged into one of the nation's most highly-coveted recruits this past season, despite shutting it down due to impingement with torn labrums on both sides.

 The 6-foot-7 kickout shooter decided on Notre Dame three days ago.  The Class of 2015 small forward had been weighing a handful of top-stratum, high-major suitors. Ryan whittled the list down to Notre Dame, Michigan, Duke, North Carolina, Stanford, and Creighton 

Consistent pursuit from head coach Mike Brey, along with the opportunity to play quality minutes from the jump, accelerated Ryan's decision. 

"The most influential factor in choosing Notre Dame was how long they've been recruiting me," Ryan said. 

"They came to my house and my school multiple times. There's a great opporunity to contribute right away, academics, the universal brand of Notre Dame, it's a family school and most importantly is the connection with coach (Mike) Brey." 

Brey, who offered Ryan after taking in two of his games in the same day last year, put the scholarship offer down before the rest. 

"I'll be a volume player in his system because (Brey) gives his shooters freedom and allows them to play through mistakes," said Ryan, who averaged 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists in eight games during the 2013-14 campaign. 

"I envision my role increasing from year to year, but I know I'll have to work very hard because of the competition in the new ACC."

Ryan was also sold on the chance to fill an immediate void. The Irish will bid adieu to several key shooters/scoring threats following 2015 graduation, necessitating Ryan's floor-spreading perimeter assault.

Academics held considerable weight in Ryan's decision. Ryan has a 3.8 GPA, earning no grade lower than a 92 the past semester.

Ryan, a deft shooter from deep, hopes to catalyze the perimeter game. 

 Notre Dame has churned out notable talent, underscored by program legends such as Luke Harangody, Kyle Maclarney, and Ben Hansbrough.

Ryan's upside is akin to Colin Falls, the legendary Notre Dame 3-point ace.

Ryan went under the knife this past spring.

Working with Manhattan-based arthroscopic hip surgeon Bryan Kelly, he feels rejuvenated and is slated to return to full strength in a month. Kelly performed the same surgery on former Providence and Kennedy Catholic star Donnie McGrath two years ago.

Ryan has already been back on the court, devising plans to create his shot off the dribble and carve his way to the rim more.

 As Ryan's stock and Division-I interest levitated last season, teams began face-guarding the 3-point grenade launcher. 

 After weighing his options, flirting with the notion of attending a high-caliber prep school such as Monteverde Academy (Fla.) or Huntington Prep (WV), The Cortlandt Manor native opted to return to one of 914's most prominent hoops factories.

The decision bodes well for Vic Quirolo, who has a budding Division-I point guard in Ty Jerome (Davidson, Creighton, George Washington, Columbia, and myriad others expressing considerable interest) and a Patriot League caliber recruit in well-built guard Tom Capuano of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Ryan will have an inside shot at winning Mr. Basketball. With his return, the Gaels return to the Catholic League championship conversation. 

Ryan said the Irish sustained their loyalty while he was on the shelf. The interest and pursuit never tailed off.

"It was known that Duke, UNC, and Michigan coaches were waiting to see me play in person and then were going to offer," Ryan said.

"But that was not going to be until a couple of months. I could have lost my opportunity at Notre Dame and other players could have ended up committing to those schools. Ultimately I decided to take a spot at a school I love and give the staff a great direction for the rest of the summer, to surround me with other great players."