Junior guard/forward Kayla Ryan scored her 1,000th career point last week against SUNY New Paltz to strengthen her already impressive athletic performance at Oswego State.
Ryan has been a member of the Oswego State women’s basketball team since her freshman year. She entered Oswego State as part of head coach Tracy Bruno’s first official recruiting class. Bruno came to watch Ryan play in a game at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) while she was playing for Hoosic Valley High School, a small school in Schaghticoke, N.Y. After speaking with Bruno, Ryan thought she was one of the nicest coaches she talked to and therefore decided to play for the Lakers.
It did not take long for Ryan to be recognized for her achievements on the basketball court with the Lakers. She was named the State University of New York Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year for the 2008-09 season. Ryan’s recent feat of reaching 1,000 career points just adds to her achievements.
"It is quite an accomplishment to score 1,000 points as a junior, that speaks volumes for what she has done on this team," Bruno said. "It couldn’t happen to a better kid."
Although Ryan is pleased with her accomplishment, she is not a big fan of all the attention.
"I think my teammates were more excited than I was, but I think it was pretty exciting," Ryan said.
Despite scoring 1,000 points, Ryan considers her growth as a person her biggest accomplishment in her basketball career. She has grown into a leader on the team over the course of just a few years, as she now serves as a co-captain. Ryan believes previous captains have taught her how to become a successful leader.
"(Her biggest strength on the court is) her pure athleticism," Bruno said. "She is a great athlete and is difficult for other teams to guard."
Ryan’s favorite part about playing at Oswego State is the friends that she has made through playing basketball. She liked the fact that she had friends before she even set foot on campus her freshman year. Making friends has always been a positive part of Ryan’s basketball career.
She started playing basketball when she was five years old. Despite playing soccer, softball and basketball, Ryan chose to focus on basketball in sixth grade after playing on an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team. She also played on multiple Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) teams. Ryan played for her high school varsity team as an eighth grader, and almost each year her team made it to sectionals. In her senior year, Ryan’s team made it to the state finals, where they ended up losing but she considers it one of her best experiences playing basketball.
"Tenacious," Bruno said when asked what one word describes Ryan.
Bruno is most impressed with Ryan’s work ethic and attitude. Ryan not only tries her best during each game, but she also works hard everyday during practice.
During the off-season at school, Ryan plays pick up basketball, but when she is home she enjoys doing gymnastics to stay in shape. She also spends time with her family and friends, in addition to working during her time away from Oswego State. Even though Ryan loves basketball, she surprisingly does not follow professional or college basketball at all.
Bruno is pleased to have Ryan returning next year for her senior year at Oswego State.
"The sky’s the limit for Kayla," Bruno said.
Bruno is excited to see Ryan add components to her game and is looking forward to seeing positive things from the younger players who have had the opportunity to play.