Emily Ryan cements legacy with Kansas all-time bests
Accolades are nothing new to Central Plains junior point guard Emily Ryan. She's a two-time state champion, a Gatorade Player of the Year, and after Tuesday night, she's now a 2,000-point scorer.
"I knew she was getting up there with a lot of points but I'm sure Emily didn't even know she had 2,000," head coach Pat Stiles said. "She's really good at not focusing on individual stats and all she care about is how her team is doing."
Ryan is consistently humble, always trading an equal amount of compliments for her teammates for each one she receives.
"It was a lot of hard work in the gym, a lot of countless hours and it's paid off," she said. "It's been a lot of fun. I've been fortunate enough to have teammates that can pass the ball really well. They make it easy on me."
She's not the first one to surpass 2,000 points in Claflin, Kansas. Jackie Stiles put the school district on the map from 1993-97, scoring 3,603 points and a Kansas State record 71-point game.
Ryan is now coached by Jackie's father, who is having a case of deja vu.
"She definitely has the work ethic that Jackie had and she's just like Jackie," he said. "It's fun going through it again because I really missed watching Jackie play and it's just like here we go again with the recruiting and it's just been a magical time."
Ryan scored a career-high 49 points Tuesday night, but did not realize she did so. In fact, she doesn't count her individual scoring stats. Ryan said she never expects to pass Stiles's 71-point game, but feels honored to have the comparison.
"It's an honor to even be mentioned in the same sentence as her because she was just an incredible talent and a great person, but she's just on a different level."
Ryan knew Jackie from her childhood, and said her mentorship was more than learning how to shoot a perfect three.
"I don't remember specific points, basketball-wise, but I always remember her helping me as a person and she was always willing to help and that left a big impact on me," Ryan said.
The 16th-ranked point guard in the nation already has interest from top programs in her junior year.
"I want to go somewhere I can be comfortable and successful and be with the teammates I really enjoy being around and a good coaching staff," she said.
Ryan still hasn't glossed over the idea of being a hometown star at one of the three division one state schools.
"I've thought about that because then my hometown would be able to come out and support me, so that's definitely something I've considered."
Coach Stiles said Ryan is a generational player, calling her a "difference-maker" to any school that chooses her.
"She's going to make some program really happy," he said. "The greatest thing about her is her intangibles and her leadership. She's just such a great leader in practice and in games. She just won't ever let us have a bad practice."