The player reviews have gone so well that I decided to do one for even the two incoming freshman. And yes, I needed some content as we enter a very slow period.
Ryan Cline - HS Senior, Carmel HS, IN
82 of 180 3FG (45%), 93 of 119 (78%), 21 ppg, Mr. Basketball Runner-up
Only at a program like Carmel, which has had an embarrassment of riches in all sports historically and in basketball recently, can numbers like that be considered somewhat of a disappointment. The bottom line is that Cline's final two seasons did not end the way his first two seasons did. He was the rare varsity player as a freshman in 2012 when the Greyhounds won the state championship. The next year he played a much larger role as he scored in double figures during the state championship game against Jalen Coleman and Cathedral. Carmel repeated, but lost in the sectional to Hamilton Southeastern his junior season and fell to Caleb Swanigan (the player who beat him out for Mr. Basketball) and Homestead in the Regional Championship this season.
We will like him though, as Kyle Needenriep of the Indy Star said after his team won the sectional:
There is a perception at times of outside shooters as "soft" players. That would be an incorrect categorization of Cline, who is as tough as used chewing gum. His added strength this year has allowed him to be able to finish better around the basket and draw fouls.
Cline is a winner. His teams were 92-11 in his four seasons with a pair of state championships and were constantly ranked in the state's top 5. More importantly, Carmel plays a style of basketball that is very team-oriented much like Purdue. They have not been loaded with McDonald's All-Americans, but instead have played smart offense, stifling team defense, and they hit their free throws. They are like a boa constrictor if they have the lead in the fourth quarter. They won't turn it over, they will defend you all over the floor, and they rarely miss free throws. That will carry over well for Cline.
I was fortunate enough to see Cline play three times this season and he impressed me all there times. The first two were rather pedestrian wins over Kokomo and Zionsville where he scored pretty much in the flow. The third time was a classic double overtime win over Fishers in the sectional semifinal where he had 30 points and pretty much willed his team to victory.
Cline does not need to come in and be a savior. That's why he will fit in well. He began his high school career as a role player on a very good team and ended as the start player that was not afraid to defer to teammates if it meant they won. He is a player that has won, a lot, at the highest level in the state of Indiana. He can play pretty good defense (he forced a decisive five-second call with his team trailing with 27 seconds left in overtime in the Fishers game) and he is a deadly shooter if left open. He will fit in very, very well.