Spoonhour announces Ryan Leonard will join Panthers next season

Dillan Schorfheide, Sports Editor

Eastern men’s basketball coach Jay Spoonhour made his first official announcement regarding incoming players, with the first player announced being junior college transfer Ryan Leonard.

Leonard is transferring from Santa Fe college, where he averaged 12.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, per the press release. He is listed at 6-feet-4-inches, 200 pounds, a similar build to guards Eastern has on the roster. 

Leonard originally announced April 11 on Twitter that he was joining Eastern’s team.

Though he played at a junior college in the U.S., Leonard is from Ireland, where he gained a lot of experience playing for the Ireland national team as a member of the U16, U18 and U20 teams. That national team experience is something Spoonhour mentioned.

“Ryan has had a ton of experience,” Spoonhour said, per the press release. “Since he was a very young guy, he has played for his national team in Ireland against some very good players.”

Leonard’s statistics and play style seem to fit well with what Eastern has been accustomed to these past few seasons: Guards who can shoot well, but who also have good size and can rebound well. Josiah Wallace and Mack Smith, for example, have been consistent shooters for Eastern and have added good production to rebounding efforts.

He will also be filling a hole left by graduating players, as Eastern lost four guards after this past season: Shareef Smith, Logan Koch, Shawn Wilson and Dondre Duffus.

Leonard shot 39 percent from three-point range, while scoring in double figures in 17 games in the season, according to the press release.

“He was the leading scorer on his Santa Fe team and is an outstanding shooter,” Spoonhour said, per the press release. “At 6-feet-4-inches he gives us another guard with real good size and an ability to make point guard plays. He’s got a really high basketball IQ and comes from a good basketball background.”

Spoonhour went on to mention that Leonard’s dad, Ricardo, played basketball at Old Dominion, where he played from 1988-1992, according to sports-reference.com.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or dtschor[email protected]