Matt Ryan – F, Vanderbilt
2018-19 notable statistics: 8.1 ppg
Wisconsin is not known to be in pursuit of Vanderbilt grad transfer Matt Ryan at the moment, but of the five players mentioned in this piece, he is perhaps the most realistic option for the Badgers.
Bo Ryan and his staff-which, of course, included Greg Gard- recruited the 6’8 forward out of Iona Preparatory School (Cortlandt Manor, NY) in the class of 2015, though an offer was never extended. However, the lack of an offer from the Badgers was not indicative of Ryan’s standing in recruiting circles: he was a 4-star prospect and the nation’s No. 103 overall player according to the 247Sports composite rankings, and received offers from the likes of Arizona State, Boston College, Clemson, Creighton, Iowa State, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Vanderbilt.
Ryan ultimately committed to Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish, but struggled to make an impact throughout his two seasons in South Bend, averaging 4.3 points in just 11.2 minutes per game. Following his sophomore season, he transferred to Vanderbilt, where he is coming off of a solid year for the Commodores in which he started 25 games and averaged 8.1 points in 24.9 minutes per contest as a whole on the season.
Ryan put his name in the transfer portal after head coach Bryce Drew was relieved of his duties, but has not ruled out the possibility of returning to Vanderbilt for his final season once he sees who is chosen to fill that position.
In addition to the existing connection with Wisconsin stemming from his recruiting days, Ryan’s game would be a perfect fit for what the Badgers need more of on their roster next season. He would serve as yet another player who makes smart decisions with the ball in his hands (No. 12 in the SEC last season in turnover percentage), and he also has proven himself to be a sniper from long range. Granted, Ryan only converted 32.8 percent of his three-point attempts last season, but his track record in high school and at Notre Dame (just under 40 percent) is probably more indicative of his overall shooting ability.
Ryan could be a difference-maker as a primary weapon off of Wisconsin’s bench next season, potentially even as a starter until December, depending on what happens with Micah Potter. This wouldn’t be as sexy a pick-up as guys like Nate Sestina or Justin Pierce, but the addition of Ryan would shore up the depth in the frontcourt in a significant way and help the Badgers win games.
OTHERS NAMES TO WATCH:
Derrik Smits -7’1 C, Valparaiso
Daniel Utomi – 6’6 F, Akron
Jeantal Cylla – 6’7 F, UNC-Wilmington
All stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com