July is a huge month for college hoops recruiting, and for Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, the evaluation periods could not have gotten off to a better start than with the commitment of New York forward Matt Ryan. Ryan had been one of Brey's biggest targets for his 2015 class for the better part of the last year, and the head coach landed his guy last Friday after an announcement on Twitter.
Honored and excited to say I will be attending the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 2015 #GoIrish— Matt Ryan (@Matt_Ryan32) July 11, 2014
Brey had taken on the bulk of Ryan's recruitment personally, which he seems to do for one or two of his biggest targets every class. His efforts were rewarded by Ryan, who committed in part because of Brey's commitment to him despite hip injuries that cost him most of his junior year and this most recent AAU season. The injuries may have also cost him offers from schools like Duke, UNC, and Michigan, all of whom invested a lot into recruiting Ryan and would have represented major competition for the Irish had they ever extended offers.
Still, it's hard not to envision the Irish winning out in the end given their dogged recruitment throughout Ryan's injuries and the early playing opportunities available for him in South Bend. After Brey's in-home visit in April, Ryan discussed the head coach's vision for Ryan to become a freshman all-ACC player as a big-time scorer for the Irish. It was after that visit that Ryan declared Notre Dame the favorite, a declaration that came to fruition Friday morning.
Ryan is listed at 6'7" and 210 pounds and will continue to play for Iona Prep for his senior season despite rumors that he may be transferring elsewhere. His offers included Arizona State, Iowa State, Marquette, and Pittsburgh in addition to the considerable interest from Duke, UNC, Michigan, and Stanford. He has been to campus before and will officially visit on the September 6th weekend, which is not only a big football weekend but may be shaping up to be a big basketball recruiting event as well.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN - 3 star, NR nationally, #38 SF, 79 rating
Rivals - 3 star, #130 nationally
247 - 4 star, #102 nationally, #20 SF, 91 rating
247 composite - 3 star, #123 nationally, #24 SF, .909 rating
Matt Ryan is an instant impact player for Notre Dame. As mentioned, Mike Brey told him as much and expects the small forward to score early and often for the Irish as a sharp-shooter on the wing. Ryan fills a major void created by the graduation of Pat Connaughton and has a pretty good chance to start as a freshman either as a 3 or, potentially, as a 4 in a smaller lineup that looks more and more likely given the makeup of the roster and recruiting.
Ryan has a textbook shooting stroke with a very quick, compact release that should be ready-to-go even against top ACC opponents. He is joining a roster that is fairly short on long-range shooting options in a system that really needs one, so he should be a crucial weapon for Mike Brey right away.
Ryan is also considered a strong defender, and his length should allow him to match up with with most 3s and 4s, even in an ACC that will throw plenty of good ones at him. One question mark will obviously be his ability to bounce back physically and athletically from his double-hip injuries, particularly when it comes to replacing the highly-underrated rebounding abilities of Connaughton.
Matt Ryan has four-year starter potential for the Irish as an ever-valuable three-and-d guy that has very surprisingly been lacking for Mike Brey these last couple seasons since Tim Abromaitis
got screwed ran out of eligibility. Players like Ryan have been staples for Mike Brey's rotation throughout most of his tenure, so it is easy to be confident in Ryan's prospects as a mainstay in the lineup throughout his Notre Dame career.
Ryan's injuries have dampened his recruiting rankings, which were on the rise firmly into four-star territory before his labrum surgery. But this just seems like one of those perfect fits between player and school that easily make this a commitment about which to be excited. For Notre Dame, Matt Ryan is absolutely a high-four star player. It should be interesting to see how his senior season unfolds to see if he can jump back on the court this fall without missing a beat and convince some of the recruiting sites that were already high on him last fall that he is easily a four-star player. Whether or not he convinces them, Notre Dame is confident that they have a big-time player coming their way in 2015.
Welcome to Notre Dame, Matt!