STRATFORD—The Albertus Magnus men’s basketball program just got a whole new set of Stratford-based fans.
Stratford High senior guard Jack Ryan, a three-year starter, an All-State player and 1,000-point career scorer for the Red Devils, has decided to soar as a Falcon at the next level.
Ryan committed to the successful New Haven-based Division 3 program on Thursday morning.
“It was basically Coach (Mitch) Oliver. He was recruiting me from the beginning and he really made it feel like home,” Ryan said. “All the people I met up there, it just felt like the right fit.”
This past winter season, Albertus Magnus was led by senior point guard Ryan Pittman, a Bunnell High graduate.
Pittman helped lead the Falcons to two NCAA tournament appearances in his four years with the program.
He was the only senior in the program the Ryan will be joining come next fall.
“I definitely watched him when I was growing up,” Ryan said, “but I don’t know him.”
He also knows Pittman has helped make the Falcons one of New England’s winningest Division 3 programs with seven GNAC league titles and seven NCAA tournament appearances since 2010.
“They love winning,” Ryan said. “That’s what they do. Whatever I can do to help them keep doing that, I’m going to do.”
The Falcons have had eight straight 20-win seasons and compiled a 192-37 mark over that span.
Stratford High basketball coach Tim Swaller said he has known Oliver—who was a former assistant at Bunnell High School in his early days of coaching–for a long time and feels Albertus Magnus is a perfect fit for Ryan.
“I think it’s a very good fit,” Swaller said. “Albertus plays a very fast pace. They like to get out and go and Jack a chance to do well with that style of play.”
Swaller said the jump from high school to college is big, but he expects Ryan to be successful with the Falcons.
“We’ve had that conversation,” Swaller said. “The next level is a big step up from a strength-and-athletic standpoint. Everybody is bigger, stronger, faster. I’ve explained that to him. He’s someone who has a high IQ and is very coachable and very competitive and all those factors will help him make the jump.”
Ryan was injured during the football season, breaking two bones in right foot. He rebounded from that injury, however, and averaged 16.5 points per game this season while earning Division 3 All-State Honors from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.
Ryan, who admitted he wanted to stay close to home to stay close to his family, plans on majoring in education at Magnus.
He hopes to become a physical education teacher and coach somewhere down the road.
First, though, is the rest of his basketball career.
And the town of Stratford will once again be watching the Albertus Magnus Falcons soar.