Former Saint Geoff Walker On Ryan Oliver

4guysinblazers touched base with former Siena Basketball player, Geoff Walker to discuss the commitment of Ryan Oliver to Siena. Walker coached Oliver as an assistant coach at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, CA. At Siena, Walker played for the Saints from 1993-1997. He scored 1,044 points during his career, 35th all-time. His best season came his senior year when he has a 12.8 ppg average. During his freshman year he was a member of the Saints squad that took third in the 1994 NIT tournament. Geoff was a very capable rebounder. He led the team in boards his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. His 706 career rebounds, 6.2 rpg average, ranks 10th all-time in Saints history. In high school he was 1st team all-state in Michigan his junior and senior years in both basketball and soccer.

What can Siena fans look forward to from Ryan?

 “He is competitive and plays the game in control and at a comfortable pace. You will not see Ryan panic. He is a lead by example type of player and truly a Team first guy who is more concerned with the W and making the right play, which often times means passing up a jump shot for a more open teammate. A prolific shooter. I do not want to put huge expectations on Ryan, but he has a textbook jump shot that any player at any level would love to have. Siena fans will enjoy watching his range and also his demeanor”.

 How do you see Siena as a fit for Ryan?

 “He is a great fit. His ability as a shooter will open up the floor as defenses will have to stretch to guard him, thus opening up more inside opportunities for OD to continue his dominance around the basket. Siena already has a great young PG, It will be exciting to see him drive and kick out to Ryan”.  

 What was your role and what input did you have in helping Ryan make his decision?

 “Ryan and I spoke in depth about Siena. The young man did his research first on Siena months ago. He knew I had played there and he use to always give Siena love back when Siena was upsetting teams in the tourney annually.  I caught wind of his recruitment from Siena from his brother Vince Oliver, who I coach with at Loyola here in LA.. Ryan and I spoke often and I was able to give him a first hand account of what it means to be a student-athlete at Siena. I also told him about when you Win at Siena there is nothing like it. The City becomes that much more excited about the Wins. Very few Mid Major Programs in the country rival Siena in that regard. That is where I could give him additional insight. . They had a great home visit out here in LA and I feel his family felt very comfortable after that. It was family decision. I just was able to give my experiences to help answer any lingering questions. Obviously Ryan had a great on campus visit as well. Coach B and his staff did all the rest and a phenomenal job in his recruitment”

Your thoughts on his progress from prior to, through his injury and recovery, and up to where he is today.

 “Ryan is dedicated. The staff here in LA at Loyola often say if we had him his last year we would have won a State Title. The summer before his senior year he played in a Summer League game on a torn ACL, no one knew at the time. I believe he went either 9/9 or 9/10 from behind the 3 point line. I say that to let you know the type of kid he is. He will play through pain. Unfortunately he lost that season to surgery and then worked his tail-off to get back and ready for his prep year. I would say our loss of him that senior year is Now Siena’s gain, because I am confident he would have had NUMEROUS offers just like this year after Prep. He got himself ready after surgery to have immediate impact at NMH. He is that type of kid. His brother Vince along with myself will get him ready for his freshman year. Ryan knows its jump to the next level and he must come in prepared he is not expecting anything to be handed to him. Siena has some great talent on the perimeter. It will be a nice addition to have Ryan”.

 Finally any other thoughts on Ryan as a person and a student athlete.

 “Ryan is leader a very friendly kind young man. His parents would have it no other way. Ryan the basketball player is one thing. I am more impressed with Ryan the young man. Respectable, dependable with a great sense of humor that people gravitate towards. If you remove basketball from the equation…. He is still a tremendous addition to the Siena community as a whole. I could not be prouder that he chose my Alma Mater to continue his growth as a student and as an athlete”.

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