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Colt Ryan

Colt Ryan

Colt Ryan is going from the CIT to the PIT.

The UE senior, whose Aces career ended in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament semifinals over the weekend, earned an invite to the April 10-13 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Virginia.

The four-day, 12-game event invites 64 of the country’s best seniors to show off skills in front of NBA and foreign scouts.

Ryan will join familiar faces such as Indiana’s Jordan Hulls, Butler’s Rotnei Clarke and Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley at the PIT. Full rosters will be announced at 3 p.m. Friday.

“My first thing is, I’m going to look to get a good agent,” Ryan said. “And then I’ve got a scouting combine – Portsmouth – here in a couple weeks that I’m going to train for and get ready for.

“I don’t know a whole lot about what goes on the summer after college. I know I’m just going to work out really hard, continue to get better with my game and see where I end up.”

Coach Marty Simmons called the PIT a “good indicator” for where Ryan could land professionally.

“It’s tough to place that kind of importance on one tournament, but if he was to go there and play really well, I think it would help him because you’re at an event that’s attended by NBA scouts, European scouts and so on and so forth,” Simmons said. “The positive side is, if you go down there and play well, you can really draw some interest.

“Even if he doesn’t play well, his body of work of his career here, the competition he’s played against and just how he’s developed into the player he is today will be enough. At what level I don’t know. As his coach, I think if he got in the right situation, I think he’s capable of playing in the NBA. For sure I believe he could go overseas and have a terrific career.”

The list of former Aces playing professionally could double if Ryan’s senior class teammates land on rosters. Current Evansville pros include Shy Ely and Denver Holmes, who played in the same Swiss league this past season, and Kenny Harris, who’s in Israel.

Simmons said he expects each of Ryan, Ned Cox, Troy Taylor and Lewis Jones to try and play professionally.

“I think most guys that come to college, that’s one of the things they ask: the number of players that have left your program and gone on to keep playing,” Simmons said. “I certainly think you can use that as a marketing tool to incoming players – that our program gets enough attention and that we feel like our staff does enough with development that it gives players once their eligibility is up a chance to pursue basketball as a career.”

Look for more in Wednesday’s Courier & Press.

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