One on one with Matt Ryan

While Duke continues to focus most of the recruiting effort in the class of 2014, the coaching staff is reaching out to a number of 2015 prospects to gauge interest. One such player to receive a call is a 6-foot-7 sharpshooter from New York.

So, it seems you're a pretty good QB for the Falcons?

Matt Ryan: I get that all the time. I get his nickname sometimes from people, Matty Ice, I get that all the time. It's pretty fun. I'm not even a Matt Ryan fan, I'm actually a Tom Brady fan, he's my favorite. I used to like Peyton Manning when he was with the Colts, but when he went to the Broncos, I stayed with Tom Brady and was a Patriots fan.

What other sports did you like growing up?

I grew up a big college basketball fan, I watched a lot of that growing up. I didn't become an NBA fan until a couple of years ago when I started seeing just how hard it was to work to get up to that level,  that's when I became an NBA fan as well. My favorite player, I root for LeBron, I love watching him play.

How about on the college side—any teams you really liked?

Yeah, I grew up loving to watch Duke basketball. My aunt, she grew up a diehard Duke fan, she had a couple of friends that worked there, so I grew up watching J.J. Redick and trying to be like him, so now I'm in a situation where everybody is telling me that I play a lot like him, so it's really paying off.

What did you like about watching Duke and JJ growing up?

I just loved his passion for the game, his attitude on the court, a lot of people hated him, I just try to have the same attitude, don't take anything for granted, just go out there, give it your all, and don't leave anything out there. That's what he did and that's what I do.

On style of play, Duke gets up and down, they find space for shooters, that's what I love.

Was Duke your favorite team growing up?

I just loved college basketball in general, I didn't necessarily root for any particular team, I just loved watching in general and once March Madness came, it was even more exciting. I loved watching the ACC and Big 10 in particular, those were always the games that seemed to be on TV, those were the teams I was watching.

Can you update your current height and weight for the database?

I'm 6-foot-6 and a half, and right at about 200 pounds now. My wingspan is up to 6-foot-9 and a half right now and I wear a size 15 shoe, I think that's it.

What's your workout routine these days?

Yeah, I train four days a week at Velocity Sports Performance in New York. When I work out there, it's an hour of weight training, then an hour where we do agility training, coordination, that kind of stuff.

Playing style wise—do you like playing in an offense where you come off a lot of screens, or do you like having the ball in your hands and creating shots for yourself?

I'm one of those players who likes both, I'm not in favor of anything in particular, I just want to get out there and play and if we get out on the fast break, that's great or if we run a structured offense where we come off screens, I can do that too. I can create my own shot as well.

Recruiting wise—how has the last year been for you?

The last three months has been a really exciting time for me, my coach and I and my family have heard from over 50 college coaches from all over the country and just the other day I heard from Virginia and Duke. Just the day after Coach Wojo from Duke called, I heard from Coach Sanchez from Virginia, he called my dad.

How did the conversations go with Coach Wojo and Coach Sanchez?

The conversation with Coach Wojo went great, he knew I was a JJ Redick fan growing up, he knew about my game  a little bit and he told me how I could help Duke in a variety of ways. He told me they were very interested in me and he was planning on coming up in a couple of weeks to see me at my school.

My dad told me that Coach Sanchez said the same thing, he saw me during the summer and they liked me and they wanted to start recruiting me now.

In what way did Coach Wojo say he thought you could help Duke if you went there?

We haven't gotten specific yet with what kind of role I'd have there, I've only been talking with him for a couple of days. He said he knows what I can do with shooting the ball extremely well, one of the top shooters in the country and that I could come in there and help them by putting points on the board. He actually told me that he had heard a lot of great things about me and he's known me for awhile and now that I'm getting up there in recruiting and a lot of high major programs are contacting me, he said it's time for Duke to start recruiting me as well.

What was your reaction?

It felt great, it felt really good to hear that from Duke, it was a great feeling to start hearing from them. Wojo definitely said when he talked with me and my dad that with it being Duke, they don't recruit everybody like some schools do, like some schools will call every single player, Duke is different, they call players that they think can help them win a national championship. He called me and told me that and it just made me feel even better.

What's your reaction to that kind of approach?

Him saying that to me meant a lot, especially him saying that he thinks I could come in and make an impact. He didn't promise any playing time or anything like that, he just said I could come in and help.

Did he indicate that he was going to try and get you on the phone with Coach K or try to line up an unofficial visit for you?

We didn't talk about that yet, I would love to get down there, I was actually down there before for their camp and just dreamed of being recruited by them but now I definitely would love to go the campus and visit them and talk with Coach K, I've never talked with him and I hope to talk to him soon. It was a goal growing up for me to be recruited by UNC and Duke, I just grew up watching that rivalry, I dreamed of, that was one of my goals growing up to be recruited by them. Now that Duke is recruiting you, how does that impact your recruiting situation?

It has it's toll, I still have the favorites that I've had for over a month now who have been recruiting me the hardest, I'm still open and keeping all the schools recruiting me in my mind.

What schools would you say are your favorites now?

I'd say at this point, the schools that have visited my school, so BC, Notre Dame, Clemson, West Virginia, UCLA, Harvard, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, Arizona State, Rutgers and Creighton and Northwestern visited on Monday, Davidson is coming out on next Monday and Fordham as well, they have been very loyal in my recruitment. Are there any schools that you haven't received an offer from that you are hoping to get an offer from them?

Yeah there's definitely those group of schools that I'm hoping to hear from, now that Duke's in contact with me, other really high major programs I'm hoping see that, so I'm hoping to hear from Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, UNC, hopefully those schools.

How does it impact your recruitment if any of those schools you are hoping to hear from start to get more involved with you?

The biggest impact it will have, if they show interest or give offers or if they talk about me being able to come help them, it might make me want to cut my list a little earlier than I planned. I'd just have to consider where I would like best and what coach I would want to play for. If I start hearing from those programs, I'd be forced I think to cut down my list because there'd be too many schools and with some schools, they offer a higher degree of basketball competition, so I'd definitely look at those schools because they have higher experience with getting guys ready for the NBA, which is the ultimate goal. That's why a more high major program would be more beneficial for me.

What's your current plan in place for cutting the list down and moving forward in your recruiting process?

I don't plan on cutting my list down until after next AAU season and then continuing to cut down my list towards the start of high school season and then hopefully make my decision right before my high school season next year.

Are there any unofficial visits that are in the works of being planned?

I have BC planned for October 5th, I'm going to a football game there that weekend.Other than that I don't have any planned. West Virginia mentioned to me October 12th as a potential visit time and when I talked a little while ago with Jamie Dixon, he mentioned I could come out when they play Duke and Syracuse when they play Duke, that's a possibility.

How are your parents factoring into your recruiting process?

The big thing is they are advising me to go through this process well, not name any favorites, take a look at each school. Regarding visits, I have a much younger brother, so the visits aren't as many as we would like because we want to stay home and see him a lot. I also have a lot of events in the fall.

Are there any schools out there that if they offer you, you'd be ready to shut it down and commit?

I would say at this point no, if I get interest from a lot of them, maybe the first couple that offered me I would be more favorable towards, but at this point if I got an offer from a school, I wouldn't let it just shut down my recruitment.

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