Basketball player finds opportunity at King’s
November 3, 2014, 12:00 PM AST
Last updated November 17, 2014, 2:53 PM AST
Ryan Harnett heard the bad news at tryouts for the Dalhousie men’s basketball team: there was no spot for him on this year’s team.
After playing his rookie year at Dal, he opted make a new start on the University of King’s College team.
“I just love playing basketball, I have since Grade 4. It would be weird if I wasn’t,” says Harnett.
King’s is a smaller school than Dal, with fewer students to pick from and a smaller athletic budget.
For athletes who have trained in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference, playing at the college league is not always a disappointment. If they were on the bench for a university team they are likely to be a starter or key player at the college level.
“If I contribute to the team, if I get minutes in or can help,” says Harnett, “starting and not starting does not matter to me.”
This is the attitude every coach wants and Neil Hooper, the athletic director at King’s, is thrilled to have him on the squad.
“This year the basketball team will have the most talented back court that they have had in 10 years.”
Harnett will have a lot do to with it. He will be the “biggest impact player” to join the team this year, said Hooper.
Simon Marr, his former teammate at Dal and now coach at King’s, believes Harnett will be a top scorer and take on a leadership role as well.
Harnett says having Marr as his coach will be an easy transition.
“Simon was a captain [at Dal] … and was already like a coach to us.”
“I know what he is good at, what his tendencies are,” says Marr. “So I almost have an advantage coaching him over the other guys because it’s like I have almost been coaching him for a year.”
Hooper and Marr think Harnett is the going to be a guy who can put up big numbers and run the offence from his position as point guard.
The guard is the backbone of the team, similar to a quarterback in football or a setter in volleyball.
Harnett was not a starter on Dal, and few rookies are in their first couple of years on a varsity team.
This year he is “going from not playing much last year to being a key role player … he needs to step into that role and be one of our top three guys,” says Marr.
The position he plays is meant for a leader.
And, Hooper says, Harnett “was born to play in that position.”