Ryan Woolridge is the point guard that Gonzaga desperately needed. Woolridge played his last three seasons for the Mean Green in North Texas. In the 2018-2019 season, Ryan averaged 11.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.9 SPG in 32.8 MPG and was named third-team All-Conference USA. He had other offers from Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and UCLA.
Woolridge is an experienced player with a high basketball IQ. He leaves his mark mostly on the defensive side of the ball and loves to get his teammates more involved on offense. Sounds like a great Gonzaga guard in the making right there.
After his commitment to the Bulldogs on Sunday, I gave Ryan a call once he was all settled back in his home of Mansfield, Texas. He was very excited to talk about his future as a member of the Gonzaga basketball program.
Arden Cravalho: Hey Ryan, Welcome to Gonzaga! You visited GU this past weekend and immediately committed after the trip was over. Why did you think Gonzaga was the right fit for you to play your final collegiate season?
Ryan Woolridge: I actually went into the Gonzaga visit knowing that I was going to commit right then and there. I felt like the coaching staff was going to put me in the right position that I wanted to be in for my senior season.
AC: What did Mark Few have to say to you during your visit?
RW: He was very up-front about everything to me. It didn’t seem like he was trying to sell me something if that makes sense. Coach Few was very clear about how the offense is to be run and how I would fit in. He explained pretty much everything that I needed to know before I come in next season.
AC: You’re filling a major hole in the backcourt for this upcoming season. Describe your style of play as many of the Gonzaga fans have probably never heard of you or gotten a chance to watch you play before.
RW: I’m an up-tempo guard who likes to push the ball and get my teammates involved. I also like to play defense. I’m sort of a “do-it-all” type of guy that plays really fast and, more importantly, wants to win.
AC: How much do you know about Admon Gilder, your partner in the backcourt? What kind of expectations do you have for each other?
RW: We actually are pretty familiar with each other. I played on the same AAU team with him in the sixth grade and we played in the same high school all-star game back in Texas.
We are going to have high expectations for one another. This is a championship-caliber program that consistently goes to the NCAA Tournament. Seeing as we are both from the same state, we got to bring some Texas energy to Spokane. We can’t let our people back home down.
AC: You’re in line to take over the lead guard position for a program that has had a lot of great players in that spot the past few years (Josh Perkins, NWG, Kevin Pangos). Are you at all worried to live up to that hype?
RW: I’m not worried about that. I just go out there and play my game. When I step on the court, I give it 100% no matter who we’re up against.
AC: I have to bring it up. You had surgery shortly after this past season ended in order to repair a stress fracture in your patella (kneecap). How’s the recovery process going and are you going to be 100% ready to go in October?
RW: Yea, for sure. I messed my knee up in my last game with North Texas and had surgery a week later. I’ve been going through physical therapy every weekday for about three hours each session. I’m working with some great physical therapists back in Texas. They actually work with the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars. They are really professional and know what they’re doing. I’m actually ahead of schedule so I’ll definitely be ready to go before the first game.
AC: What goals have you set for the 2019-2020 season?
RW: Personally, I just want to leave my mark. I want to compete in every game and actually win a championship. I want to make an impact not just on the court but also with the Spokane community.
AC: Thanks for taking time out of your schedule, Ryan. I wish you the best of luck going forward!
*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho