After finishing his Syracuse career, forward Ryan Blackwell was hoping to fulfill his dreams of playing in the NBA. Unfortunately for him, things did not work out that way.
”I mean I was happy,” Blackwell said. “Looking back, I think you always have regrets. Hindsight is always 20/20. I could’ve done things differently. I was talented enough. I remember coming out my junior year, coach Boeheim was saying that scouts really liked me and I could’ve gone late first round.
”I don’t think I was mature enough and took it as seriously as I should’ve at that time. But at the end of the day, I ended up having a good career and seeing parts of the world I wouldn’t have seen. Meeting people I wouldn’t have met. You have to look at it from a positive light no matter what.”
Since his playing career finished up, Blackwell has looked to continue his life in basketball by teaching others to play the game he loved.
”I started coaching for the team I played for in Japan in 2010,” Blackwell said. “I coached for four seasons in Japan. I recently came back and have been working at IMG Academy. I’ve been down there since February coaching and training players from eight grade on up.
Ultimately, Blackwell wants to coach at the collegiate or professional level. He is in constant communication with his former head coach on a regular basis who has been very helpful in helping him to take steps towards realizing that goal.
”Yeah that’s my goal at the top of my list right now,” Blackwell said. “Just trying to work my way up like a lot of other coaches have. Hopefully I’ll get a shot whether it’s at Syracuse or somewhere else. I see coach (Boeheim) every summer when I work his camp.
”He actually tried to help me get a spot on the women’s staff because they had an opening. They ended up hiring one of their former players as a grad assistant. So it was an easy hire for them. He tries to look out for me and helps anytime I need. If I give him a call, he always helps.”
Despite being hundreds, and at different point thousands, of miles away from Syracuse, Blackwell has been able to keep in touch with his former Orange teammates.
”I speak to Jason every once in a while,” Blackwell said. “Allen Griffin and Etan as well. It’s funny because everyone’s on Facebook so it makes it easy. Social media keeps us all connected. Maybe more than they would like to. I saw Damon Brown a few months ago on the AAU circuit. Tony Bland I speak to every once in a while.”