New School, Same Smooth:
Ryan Skovranko Q & A
By: Steve Brodzinski - Pittsburgh Basketball Report
At 6'5" most freshman are put under the basket, as they are usually still learning how to walk and chew
gum at the same time. However, for 2014 prospect Ryan Skovranko, he was playing varsity, playing
the wing, and averaging close to a double-double. Last season, he averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds
for West Mifflin high school, and emerged as one of the top players not only in his class, but in the
entire WPIAL. He plays the game with a certain smoothness that makes the game look easy. After a
spring and summer full of basketball, Skovranko had to focus on some off-the-court issues, as he was
denied eligibility by the WPIAL when he transferred to Lincoln Park. Yet, after winning an appeal with
the PIAA last month, Skovranko is re-focused on a succesful season at his new school.
Now close to 6'7" with size and a long frame at the guard position, Skovranko is a tough match up,
especially in the WPIAL. He has really developed his game on the perimeter, with a solid jumper, and
the ability to get to the hoop at will. He gets up above the rim with ease, and can be a shot blocking
presence as well. The whole package has caught the attention of college coaches already, as
Skovranko hasn't even started his sophomore campaign. I caught up with Ryan to see how he was
adjusting to his new school, and his expectations for this upcoming season:
SB:What did you do this off-season?
RS: I have been very active since the school season has ended. I really have not had an off season. I
am working out dribbling and shooting to get better as an overall player. I played spring and fall
basketball for Lincoln Park. I also played in the Charlie Batch Summer League. For the AAU season, I
played for the 15-U BSA Elite team that had won 6 championships this summer including 2 national
qualifiers. I also played for a couple other AAU teams throughout the season which included King
James in Ohio, DeJaun Blair All Stars, and the Pittsburgh Blue Devils 16-U 10th grade team. There was
a lot of competition this year.
SB: What was the main reason why you transferred to Lincoln Park?
RS: I transferred to Lincoln Park for academic and social reasons. I went to a small Christian School
from grades k-6 where there were very small classroom sizes and excellent instruction. I felt Lincoln
Park is a better fit for me. Also, my major at Lincoln Park is Health Science and the Arts where I take
classes that focus on various health and science fields. I really enjoy taking these classes as my
SB: How has your transition from West Mifflin to Lincoln Park been so far?
RS: The transition has been pretty easy for me. The students, teachers and staff at Lincoln Park are
very nice. The block scheduling that Lincoln Park offers gives me more time to focus on my
academics. It has just been a better overall fit for me.
SB: How did you deal with the initial ruling that said you would not be able to participate this
RS: I was very shocked and upset. I really didn’t know what to say, a million things were running
through my head. I tried to prepare myself before the hearing, because we were told that most Lincoln
Park students lose at the WPIAL level. After the hearing one of the voting members came up to me and
said “don’t take it personal what happens here today, It’s not anything against you, it’s a school
thing”. I couldn’t believe it. There was no evidence presented at the hearing that showed I did
anything wrong or transferred for sports reasons, and I was still ruled ineligible. I was already
prepared to appeal the decision before the hearing and thought we would get a fair hearing at the State
PIAA level. What really bothers me and my family is that academics should always come before
sports, and just because you are a good player you shouldn’t have to go through everything I had to, at
the age of 15.
SB: What are some of the hardest parts of transferring to a new school, and then trying to fit
in on a new basketball team?
RS: Lincoln Park is a very diverse school which has made the transition very easy for me. The hardest
part of transferring would be the changes that you face. You have to have the mindset of doing what’s
best for yourself. What bothered me the most was to read all the rumors and Jabs that some reporters
had to write about me. I feel that people should do research about the school and what programs they
offer before thinking everyone goes there to dance.
As to fitting in on a new team, it has been very easy to adjust. I play on many different teams during
the year which made my transition very easy. I fit in well with Lincoln park’s style of play. We play a
very fast paced and explosive offense and we attack the ball on defense. My new teammates are great
people who have made it very welcoming to become a Leopard.
SB: You guys will definitely have the most size of any Single A team, with 6’10 Devontae
Watson and yourself at 6’6”. What is your team’s expectations for this up coming season?
RS: Our team expects to do great things this year with hard work. Our goal is to win a WPIAL
championship and a state title. We are all willing to put in the dedication it takes to accomplish this goal.
SB: Talk about some of the other guys on your team- Who are some of your top players?
RS :Besides Devontae we also have Trey Hosak, Jaylyn Cottrill and Antonio Kellem. They have really
stepped up during our spring and fall leagues. We should have a good team.
SB:Even though you were not there for it, does the team still talk about the disappointing loss
in the WPIAL Championship game last season?
RS: Everyone still talks about the loss, it was a tough one. I’ll do my best to help the team out this year.
SB: The word is that your AAU teammate Ricky Rodgers will not be playing for Lincoln Park
RS: Ricky left Lincoln Park due to the changes that were made in the dance department right before
SB: How would you describe yourself as a player?
RS: I would describe myself as a floor general and a pure scorer. I will take on whatever role the
coach wants me to play in order to help the team win, it doesn’t matter to me.
SB: What college or NBA player do you try and pattern yourself after?
RS: I try to play like Austin Rivers, but in my own way.
SB: Have you received any recruiting attention yet?
RS: Temple has showed some interest. Akron has also showed a little.
SB: What are your goals in the future recruiting process?
RS: My future recruiting goals are to work very hard and attend a lot of showcases and elite team
camps to get my name out there. Since I am only a sophomore, I am working on getting my profile
out there so that college coaches can follow me both academically and athletically. I will be traveling to
IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida this week to go through a training to be evaluated. I would like
to get as many D1 offers that I can. My dream is to go to Kentucky or Duke.
SB :What is one thing most people wont know about Ryan Skovranko?
RS: The one thing people don’t know about me is that I am a jokester. I am always the one making
people laugh. When traveling for AAU, I keep my teammate’s parents laughing all weekend.