Ryan Larson’s Path to the Charleston Cougars

Coming out of Cretin-Derham Hall in Minnesota, the D-I programs weren’t exactly knocking down Ryan Larson’s door. This was a kid who had backed up NBA point guard and former Duke standout Tre Jones in the AAU circuit with Howard Pulley.

D-II’s St. Cloud State and Sioux Falls both wanted Larson, and his parents were in favor of him pulling the trigger and committing to one of those schools. But after a strong senior campaign in which he led Cretin-Derham Hall to a 30-2 record and a state title, D-I’s Presbyterian and Wofford had offered.

Larson committed to then-Wofford coach Mike Young, played one season for Young and saw an increased role each of his next three seasons under Jay McAuley. After averaging 8.8 points and 3.6 assists while shooting 39 percent his last season at Wofford, he decided to look elsewhere for his final season and an opportunity to get his master’s in business.

Larson came to Charleston on his visit, and was quickly sold on the plan that Pat Kelsey and his staff had for the veteran point guard.

“He talked about giving freedom on the offensive end as long as you give effort on the defensive end,” Larson said. “I didn’t want to play for a coach who runs a play every time down the court and takes you out if you make a mistake.”

“It’s been everything I thought it would be,” he added. “And more.”

Larson is averaging 10.8 points and 4.2 assists and running the show for a Top 25 team in the country.

“Ryan is a flat-out winner,” Kelsey said. “He’s as tough as they come. The consummate floor general. Give him the ball at 7 p.m. and he gives it back to you safe and sound at 9.”