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Notre Dame Basketball: Sophomore Forward Matt Ryan to Transfer

Notre Dame forward Matt Ryan has been granted a release to transfer to another school

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

After a sophomore campaign that saw his minutes nearly cut in half from his freshman season, forward Matt Ryan has been given a release by the University of Notre Dame to transfer to another school.

Ryan came into the Fighting Irish program as probably the most-heralded player in his freshman ND class (which also included Rex Pflueger and Elijah Burns), and earned 15 minutes per game off the bench as a freshman, mainly because of his 3-point shooting ability.

The New York native shot 42% from long range while averaging 5.1 points per game during the 2015-2016 season, showing a world of promise as the next great killer outside shooter in coach Mike Brey’s program.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Chicago at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

However, he also showed some opportunities for improvement in his freshman season, as his 6’8” size necessitated he play solid defense and contribute on the glass while in the lineup, and he was not consistently effective in those areas.

In his sophomore season, fans expected an improved Ryan to continue to knock down outside shots and now prove passable on defense, but he failed to earn time once ACC play got going. Mike Brey went small and athletic with his lineups at the expense of Ryan’s playing time, which was just 8 minutes per game.

NCAA Basketball: Colgate at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan still shot a blistering 43% from behind the 3-point line in his limited time this past season, and made the most of an uptick in minutes in postseason play, averaging about 12 minutes and 7 points per game in ND’s final 4 games of the season (Florida State, Duke, Princeton, West Virginia).

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Princeton vs Notre Dame Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

He actually had fans clamoring for him to receive more playing time, despite the consensus opinion from earlier in the year that he was a defensive liability.

Matt Ryan will leave Notre Dame with two years of eligibility remaining, and some lucky team out there is going to get an exquisite three-point shooter, if nothing else.

Personally, I think the flashes he showed at the end of the year in terms of driving to the hoop and mixing it up on the glass show he will develop into a very good player by the time he’s done, but no matter what happens and where he goes, Mike Brey said it best in his statement on Ryan’s transfer release:

Thanks for being Irish for two years, Matt, and best of luck at your next stop (until you end up facing off against your former squad, of course)!