Back when the Scout.com team formulated a plan for the Las Vegas events last summer, Matt Ryan's name became inscribed on the priority list. Rumored to be a heavy Notre Dame lean and possible early commitment, Ryan proved there that he belongs in the four star conversation thanks to a dangerous jump shot.
Ryan isn't just accurate; he's confident. One obviously flows from the other, but it's his confidence wielding shots against superior athletes that stands out first. For one thing he's a wrist shooter, making his followthrough shorter and tighter than that of most players.
He's also a tough competitor who understands how to free himself playing within the confines of halfcourt offense. He works hard to get open and already has a sturdy frame, and within the next two years he should become a legitimate power wing.
Defenders either already know or quickly learn what he is, and thus they hawk him relentlessly on the perimeter. While not a one-on-one creator, Ryan is a fine passer who spots open teammates and cleverly uses his dribble to create optimum angles.
The downside, as you may have inferred, his below average athleticism. He doesn't possess quick feet or above-the-rim antics as a finisher, and clearly he'll have to compensate for those physical disadvantages should he (likely) make his way to the high-major level. Defensively, in particular, he must learn how to anticipate and position his body to offset a disparity in quickness against some opponents.
But college programs clearly have become impressed by the net package. Ryan had drawn 20 scholarship offers by the end of last summer, including from the Fighting Irish, Boston College and West Virginia. His junior season also began according to his ambitious plan, and by the turn of the new year Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Clemson, Arizona State, Virginia and others had joined the offer spree. Additionally, Kentucky, Duke, Michigan, Stanford and North Carolina began to track him as well.
Unfortunately, it's our memories of 2013 that will have to carry us through this spring and summer. Ryan tore a labrum in his hip last month, which will force surgery and likely cause him to miss the entire 2014 travel circuit. As bad as that was, however, at least he already had pocketed numerous offers.
From a rankings standpoint, it would be almost impossible for him to rise between now and next season. Out of sight, out of mind, and thus others may pass him. There's a very realistic chance he'll end up getting under-ranked simply because no one will be able to chart his progress from last year to this year, but suffice it to say that his primary talent is obvious, and his overall skill level and toughness nevertheless likely to place him at a very desirable collegiate program.