Newburgh's Jeff Ryan Selects A School

Newburgh Free Academy forward Jeff Ryan made a decision recently and reporter Brian Towey has the details ...

Longwood pulled a sleeper from the greater New York City area this week when Jeff Ryan, a 6-foot-6, 175 pound power forward/small forward from Newburgh Free Academy in Newburgh, New York, made a verbal commitment to the program.

A slender lefty, Ryan said that he impressed his future coaches with his versatility. After taking an official visit to the school this past weekend, he decided to shut it down.

"I needed to find a place where I could play right away, find playing time as a freshman," said Ryan. "They like the fact that I can knock down jumpshots. I think I showed the ability to do that. They see me as Tayshaun Prince type player, starting out in the paint, but eventually making my way out to the wing."

Ryan had received interest from Sacred Heart, Manhattan, New Hampshire, and Marist. Longwood was his first official visit.

Ryan attended The Storm King School in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, last year. After Storm King disbanded its basketball program after last season, he transferred to Newburgh Free Academy this fall.

Jeff caught our eye playing with his regular AAU outfit, the B.C. Eagles, at the Rumble in the Bronx in June, showing range on his jumper and the ability a put the ball on the floor a bit. He's a skilled four-man with a lengthy frame who might be able to make the transition to the wing eventually. He still has to gain strength for the college level, but has an intriguing skill set.

Ryan was not a well-known commodity to the New York basketball community 60 miles to the South, but he turned heads during the second session of the Eastern Invitational Camp in July, as well as with his travels with the B.C. Eagles.

Section 9 in New York state, which encompasses Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan Counties, is something of a no-man's land in terms of recruiting, but the area has produced some players. Newburgh Free Academy, in particular, has featured some tremendous athletes in basketball, football, and other sports the past couple of years. St. Peter's guard Brandon Brock is an N.F.A alum, as is All-America quarter-miler Elzie Coleman of Mississippi State.

With the addition of Ryan, N.F.A, led by coach Luke Pereira, should be extremely formidable this year. N.F.A fell to eventual AA State Federation champion Mount Vernon 62-60 in the state playoffs last March. This year, with Ryan, returning senior Justin Rutty (6'4'' PF/SF) and guard Terry Coleman, the team could be poised for a deep run.

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