Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to sit down with rising senior, Ryan Schmadel. Ryan is a player on Cortland’s Basketball team and has been since his freshman year. He, however, is obviously not just an athlete, Ryan is a double major and is on track to obtain degrees in Sport Management and Business Economics in the Spring of 2020.
There is no doubt that being a student-athlete is very time consuming, but from talking to Ryan I learned that he is a very driven person which allows him to succeed on and off the court. In this Q&A we discussed what got him into the sport of basketball, how he has grown as a basketball player since attending SUNY Cortland, and his goals for the upcoming season.
To start, what was it that gravitated you toward basketball when you were younger? Was it the sport itself, or did someone introduce you to the game?
It was more so being introduced to the game by those around me. My father has loved basketball his whole life, and my older brother was playing basketball by the time I was getting into and choosing what sports to play.
Going into your fourth and final year on the Cortland Basketball team is there any one area in particular that you feel you have grown the most on the basketball court?
For me, I definitely feel that my strength and ability to hold my own with other college players has been my biggest improvement. I have been an undersized post-player my whole career, but I have put on about 25 pounds since coming to college, I am rarely pushed around like I used to be.
With team captains Nicky Bonura and Justin Cooper graduating how do you think that will impact the team on and off the floor?
It will impact the team seriously both on and off the floor, not only were they our two captains but they were also our two leading scorers. There are a lot of points per game that need to be accounted for if we wish for our offense to be strong again. We can manage this through committee though, we do not need a breakout scorer to average 25 points per game. We have plenty of guys who can score the ball and you will see a jump in scoring from a few of us.
Do you see yourself taking up more of a leadership role in the locker room in your senior year?
Yes for sure, it has already began during our spring activities. Fellow upcoming Senior, Brendan Fitzpatrick and I have been named Spring Captains, we have begun our attempts at leading the team through our spring activities.
Bonura and Cooper were your team captains but also the leading scorers this past season. How do you think the team will adjust next season to make up for their points?
I think we can best achieve this, not through one or two new main scorers but through many outlets. Any good team has a lot of weapons and a balanced attack, and I think that will be our best approach next season.
To this point, what has been your favorite part of being on the Cortland Basketball team?
Probably the same as almost every other college athlete, the brotherhood we become a part of. We all come here from different areas with the same goal. We work with these other guys every day during our season and special bonds grow between us. I have met some of my best friends through playing basketball here.
Do you have any bold predictions for you personally or the team for your senior year?
The main goal for next season is to host the SUNYAC postseason tournament and win it, after winning the regular season conference title.
That was the end of my interview with Ryan and the biggest takeaway for me was that he is a team oriented player. When asked how the team would adjust to playing without this past seasons leading scorers and captains he didn’t put the pressure on any one person’s shoulders. Instead, he mentioned team play on the court, and his fellow senior, Brendan Fitzpatrick as a leader off the court.
Even his goal for next season was to win the conference championship, nothing personal. It is appparent that he wants to win and with his drive and determination leading his team, that is a feat that is definitely possible.