November 30, 2009

John Ryan Turns Bulldog

Kevin McCarthy

Charles Darwin notwithstanding, is it actually possible for an Eagle to morph into a Bulldog? The answer to that question is: yes, if you are El Segundo High’s 6-foot-9 John Ryan.

photo of John Ryan
John Ryan

Ryan has officially determined his college destination -- Fresno State -- after signing a national letter-of-intent a few days ago. Asked why he chose to cast his lot in the San Joaquin Valley with Coach Steve Cleveland’s basketball squad, Ryan offered, "Overall, I really liked the atmosphere. The students really come out for the games." Ryan took a recent unofficial trip during a Fresno football weekend and also enjoyed the tailgating atmosphere prior to the game.

He also observed a basketball practice. "I liked how the coaches interacted with the players," he added. Ryan will take an official visit to the campus sometime during the basketball season.

Others schools in the running were UC Irvine and UC Riverside.

To a query regarding what position he will play as a Bulldog, Ryan answered, "the four and the five which are basically the same as Fresno plays a 3-out, two-in style." But what’s unusual with Ryan is his shooting range, which will allow him to play collegiately both with his back to, and facing the basket.

That jumpshot has come via hard work. "As a freshman, I played mostly inside but the shooting came with a lot of time and effort I put in during both high school and with the Los Angeles Rockfish [club team basketball program headed by Dave Benezra]." Ryan explained.

As for his best basketball memory, Ryan recalled, "My most fun moment was around the fifth or sixth grade in a game when I got the ball down low and hit a winning buzzer beater shot."

Ryan has an older brother Kevin, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound freshman at Cal Poly Pomona. The younger Ryan said he has the advantage inside while his sibling is a bit quicker. But throw in a point guard and definitely take the Ryans in any three-on-three tournaments.

After college, if pro basketball isn’t an option, Ryan has definite plans. "I want to be a sports agent," he said. That’s why he will be majoring in business. Imagine the intimidation factor sitting across the table negotiating with someone Ryan’s size and stature?

But first comes Ryan’s senior season at El Segundo and challenging returning Pioneer League champion Compton Centennial.