Ryan McMahon adds crucial element to men’s basketball

By on February 18, 2017

By Dalton Ray–

When coach Rick Pitino offered Ryan McMahon a scholarship in high school, the Hall of Fame head coach caught some flack across the nation. The skinny, undersized guard had no other division one offers and little power five attention.

Taking a redshirt year last season, McMahon is now Louisville’s secret weapon deep within the bench.

McMahon is lethal from deep, shooting 40 percent from three, hitting 19 of 47. With only one field goal from inside the 3-point line, teams know what kind of shooter McMahon is, yet he finds ways to drain a three when on court.

“The scouting is out that I’m a good shooter but my teammates do an incredible job of getting me open. Our offense is hard to guard, so there are gaps I can find. If I’m open, I’m going to let it fly,” McMahon said.

Even though McMahon averages under seven minutes a game, Pitino praises the redshirt freshman’s style of play.

“Ryan is the most confident guy on our basketball team. When he steps on the court, he thinks he’s the best shooter in the nation. He’s not a guy that lacks confidence at all,” Pitino said. “He can be crafty. He’s playing better defense and he’s a stepping up for us in a big way. He adds a different dimension to our basketball team.”

With injuries to junior Quentin Snider and senior Tony Hicks, more playing time became available. But that doesn’t mean the opportunity stays. McMahon took advantage of his minutes, proving he can play at a high level.

Since the 101-54 demolishing of Pittsburgh, McMahon has nearly doubled his yearly scoring average to 5.5 points and upped his 3-point percentage to 48 percent.

Against Syracuse, McMahon played six seconds during regulation. In overtime, he scored seven points, including grabbing a critical offensive rebound and put-back to give Louisville an early leg up. In the final seconds, McMahon sunk two free throws to ice the game.

In a 20-second span against Virginia Tech, McMahon hit back-to-back threes, taking Louisville from down one to up five during the second half.

McMahon is holding up his part on the defensive end as well. Being able to stay in front of defenders and following less has allowed McMahon to see more action. While he is no lockdown defender, McMahon has grown in that area.

McMahon appears to be another under-the-radar pawn at Pitino’s disposal. Sharing similar traits to previous Cardinals, McMahon doesn’t look into the resemblances.

“I recognize (the comparisons). History repeats itself but I’m not going to say I’m the next Tim Henderson or Luke Hancock,” McMahon said. “Our team is our team. We’re unique. I think we have a good shot of doing some damage this year.”

Photo by Nancy Hanner / The Louisville Cardinal

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-2018) that is technically award winning.Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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