It was one final hurrah in a high school setting for the Van Meter Bulldog favorite Ryan Schmitt Saturday, March 23 in the 2019 edition of the Senior All-Star Game series.
Set within the confines of DC-G Meadows Gym in Grimes, the 2019 IBCA All-Star Game series included over 40 of the states top rated senior hoops stars including the one and only Ryan Schmitt. Of the four teams that were in play, Schmitt played for the boys’ Southwest All-Stars team. Every season it’s an honor to be picked as one of the top senior stars across the state, and an honor that Schmitt was quite pleased with.
“To be picked to be in this game means a lot to me and it’s an honor I won’t forget,” stated Schmitt. “I am excited and of course very honored to be picked to play here today.”
The Bulldog senior star had no shortage of praise which included Van Meter head basketball coach Jed Alexander who was one of the IBCA All-Southwest team coaches.
“It really is quite the honor for Ryan and as much as he’s a team player, it’s good to see all of his hard work honored the way it’s been,” began Alexander. “He’s certainly very deserving of being here.”
Along with being a participant in the games, Schmitt’s presence marked a little piece of history for Van Meter boys’ basketball as the senior sits as the first Bulldog boys’ hoops star to make a senior All-Star Game series in over eight years. Now while that mark alone would be huge, the story of Ryan Schmitt, as it has been his entire career, goes a little further than that. After the boys’ All-Star consolation contest, Schmitt was honored as the Class 2A Boys Player of the Year, an honor that coach Alexander said spoke a lot about the senior star.
“To not only make the All-Star Games but to earn Player of the Year tells a lot about Ryan’s skills and his character as a basketball player,” began Alexander. “He may not admit it but he very much deserves this honor.”
As for the games themselves, Schmitt and the Southwest All-Stars started the day by facing off against the Southeast All-Star squad for their first match-up of the day. It was a close battle, but a late surge by the Southeast All-Stars ended up downing the Southwest All-Star team by the final of 89-82. It was quite the battle down in the low post but Schmitt managed to score eight points in the contest off of four made field goals. Schmitt also hauled in a handful of rebounds for the contest.
The loss meant that the Southwest All-Stars were headed to the consolation game in which they faced off against the Northwest All-Stars. It was quite the ebb and flow type of contest where the Southwest team trailed by as many as 17 points but trailed as few as two points. Ultimately, they could never obtain a lead and that led to a 97-82 defeat. Schmitt himself didn’t find a basket for the game but did haul in five rebounds and earned two blocks for the contest.
After the games Schmitt spoke about what it was like to play in the All-Star Game Series.
“It’s really fun and a different type of atmosphere,” began Schmitt. “These guys love the game while we took things seriously, it was a little more relaxed and we just had a lot of fun. It was great to be a part of it all.”
While the senior didn’t score up to his 14.6 points per game during the regular season, Schmitt did provide a lot of impact across the season, and the All-Star Games. Now while some may toot their own horn and talk themselves up, the ever humble Ryan Schmitt displayed amazing character and style following the games. When asked to talk about himself and his skills, Schmitt immediately gave credit elsewhere.
“No matter how skilled I am or am not, all the success I’ve had wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates and coaches,” started Schmitt. “It’s a team sport and no one individual can be successful on his own. My teammates and coaches deserve being here just as much as I do.”
Good thing for Schmitt, coach Alexander was among the coaching ranks and talked about the experience following the final game.
“You kind of get used to working with your team and your guys all the time but here it’s really fun getting to know the different personalities and styles of different players,” said Alexander. “These are some of the best players in the state and it was very fun to have coached them and to watch them play. Ultimately while we want them to win, these games are far more relaxed and it’s just a really fun time on the court. It’s just a really fun experience.”
Coach Alexander went on to further speak about more of the benefits from the All-Star Game Series.
“As a coach, I get to network with the other coaches that are here, that’s something I always enjoy doing no matter where I’m at,” said Alexander.
In working together, something very few coaches and players get to do at an All-Star Game series, both had a lot of fun with one last time on the court together.
“I didn’t yell at him once,” began a laughing Alexander. “It was stress free and pure fun and to do that with Ryan one last time is quite amazing.”
Now with the final high school hoops action behind him, Schmitt will play out the rest of his high school season and continue to work towards a decision regarding his future.
“In terms of athletics, I’m not sure what path I want to go down just yet,” began Schmitt. “Still have a few things to address but I’m looking forward to continuing my education and probably pursing the field of statistics.”