Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UE Hoops Personified ; Ryan Battled Doubters, Won during Fantastic Aces Career

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UE Hoops Personified ; Ryan Battled Doubters, Won during Fantastic Aces Career

Article excerpt

When Colt Ryan went through his college recruitment, a list of potential Big Ten Conference destinations dwindled to just mid- major programs sometime between his junior and senior seasons at Batesville High School. The major-conference universities passed on Batesville's all-time leading scorer, and it's motivated Ryan for the last four years.

"Growing up, when someone told me I couldn't do something or something like that, I've always wanted to prove them wrong," he said. "I played AAU with a bunch of the guys who went to the Big Ten schools, and I've definitely kept that in the back of my mind. They're all great players, and taking nothing away from them, I felt like I could play there.

"But I'm happy with the decision I made."

Ryan is closing in on the end of the most productive University of Evansville basketball career since the Aces' program moved to the Division I level more than 30 years ago.

The 6-foot-5 senior forward is second on the school's all-time scoring list heading into this weekend's Missouri Valley Conference tournament, and at 2,173 points, Ryan is the league's active leader.

His legacy, however, reaches beyond that quick-fire jumper off a screen, lethal transition 3-point shot and soft touch from the free throw line.

"He's just been a great ambassador for our school and our program," said Aces coach Marty Simmons. "He's been a major part of any success we've had, and I think the impact he's had on this program, as a player and a person, is something people will remember for a long, long time.

"I think if coach (Arad) McCutchan or coach (Jim) Crews could come up with the persona of an Evansville basketball player, Colt Ryan would be that guy."

Ryan earned such accolades as the MVC's freshman of the year and twice found himself on the all-conference first team. But the league also recognized him as its scholar-athlete of the year in 2012.

"My parents and my family instilled in me at an early age that grades were really important," Ryan said. "I used to compete with my friends in grades, too. If they got a better grade than me, I didn't like it. I liked that I could prove to them I could get a better grade also. …

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