Ryan Wetherell Interview Nike, The Latest / Apr 15, 2009 / 4:19 am


photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericwolfe/

Flipping through the current edition of Bounce, you can’t help but get a feeling of pride. The entire issue is dedicated to all the great Puerto Rican players from guys in the League like Carlos Arroyo and Melo to playground legends like James “True” Carter. By the time I was done reading, I was inspired to go back to my roots and find Filipinos out there that are making noise.

A Google search later, I found someone who has a very similar background to me. Coincidently, Ryan Wetherell is also a 5-10, Filipino (well half) who is from Calgary, Canada. But unlike me, he is playing ball alongside Demar DeRozan and Percy Miller Jr. (aka Romeo) at USC.

After a storied career at Calgary’s Sir Winston Churchill – where he averaged 30 points and 8 dimes – Wetherell opted to pass on Canadian schools. Instead, he chose to walk on with the Trojans. In his first two seasons at SC, Ryan has played sparingly and sat out this past season due to an eye injury.

But don’t sleep on Ryan. Coach Tim Floyd constantly praises him and has stated in interviews that he envisions Wetherell having a bigger role in the next two years. My Filipino boy hit me up yesterday as he got out of class.

Bounce: You grew up in the hockey city, Calgary. How did you get into playing hoops?
Ryan Wetherell: Well I started off being a huge hockey fan. I played hockey for six years. That was my main sport. I wanted to play in the NHL – that was my dream. To be honest, after I watched the movie Space Jam in the sixth grade, I just wanted to be like Michael Jordan. So my mom put me in basketball and I just started loving up and kept playing from there.

Bounce: What is the hoops scene like in Calgary?
RW: It’s more of like a hockey place, basketball is not the main sport. I mean there’s not as much talent in Canada. But when I was younger, a lot of the guys I used to play with, like my close friends – I think they were pretty good and could play down in the States. I played against some good players growing up, like Bol (Kong) and Akeem (Pierre) and there’s a whole bunch of other players. It helped me out a lot.

Bounce: So do you think that Canadian players are underrated?
RW: Oh yeah. Well it’s just that there’s less people. It’s underrated I guess. People focus more on basketball here (in the US) and they kind of take it more serious. Where up there, some people do, but it’s just less people and not as many organizations.

Bounce: Where is the place to play?
RW: Right now? The Talisman Centre downtown on Sundays like 2 or 3 o’clock. That’s where all the college guys around Calgary go. A lot of times I’ll go to Mount Royal College or U of C (University of Calgary).

Bounce: What about outdoors?
RW: Uh…no, not really. Nobody really plays outdoors. The weather is horrible in Calgary.

Bounce: Coming out of high school, you had a lot of scholarship offers from Canadian colleges. Why did you opt to try to walk on to a US school?
RW: It was always my dream to play Division I basketball. I have a great family. Whenever I had a goal, my parents always pushed me to do the best I can. My goal was to play Division I and go as far as I can in basketball. The real competition is in the US and I’m trying to get publicity…all that stuff. I just want to get the whole experience.

Bounce: Why USC?
RW: I played in a few tournaments down in the States when I was in high school and one of the assistant coaches at USC came and watched me play and happened to like how I played. And USC is a great school outside of basketball. Like if you get a degree from there, you can do almost anything. I just thought it was a good opportunity for me.

Bounce: How has your experience been so far?
RW: It’s been great. I met a lot of great friends and I think my game’s improved. I learned how to play the game better. In high school, I kind of had the talent and everything but didn’t know how to be a smart player and be a true point guard. It’s one of those things you learn in college playing for great coaches and great players. So it’s been a great experience, I’ve learned a lot.


Bounce:
I heard you held your own against Brandon Jennings? Tell us about that match up.
RW: Yeah I played in a tournament in Vegas in high school. My Canadian team went against his team and I think we lost by one point in overtime. But I was doing really well. I stole it from him at half-court a few times in a row. He kind of started to get mad and we went at each other. I think I had 30 that game and he had like 20. And we were guarding each other all game. He’s a great player, so I felt really good to actually do well against him.

Bounce: Have you had any other memorable matchups?
RW: I had to guard OJ Mayo every day in practice, so that was really good for me. He’s a great player and obviously most of the time he would beat me. There were a few times where he would get so frustrated because he couldn’t stop me from scoring. It definitely helped my confidence because he is a legend in the NBA…or about to be.

Bounce: You have two year left at SC. How do you envision ending your career?
RW: I’m just gonna go and play hard, do the best I can do and see what happens. I’ll just play it by ear and put it God’s hands and see where I end up.

Bounce: Obviously there are virtually no Filipino’s in college basketball. How much pride to you have to have accomplished what you’ve accomplished?
RW: I didn’t even know there weren’t many Filipinos in college basketball. That’s pretty cool that I am one of the few. It feels great. All the hard work, all the hours in the gym is paying off in the end. Actually the Philippines, they have contacted my dad. They really want me to be playing professional ball in the Philippines.

Bounce: Is that something you are going to consider?
RW: Yeah, I definitely would consider it. I need to look more into it, but I still have a few more years of college left so I’m not really looking into it yet. I hear it’s great to play overseas there, so it’s definitely something I would look into in the future.

Bounce: For someone who has never seen you play, describe your game.
RW: I am trying to be more of a point guard. I play more of a shooting guard. In Canada, I was the guy who scored on my team. I was the go-to guy. On this team, I’m supposed to distribute the ball. Over the years, I have gotten better at being a point. I’m pretty good at defense.

Bounce: Do you dunk?
RW: Yeah, I can dunk.

Bounce: Where do you like to play pickup in LA?
RW: During the summer I will play at the 24 hour Fitness. There is usually a lot of people there. One of my teammates, he lives in Orange County and we go to this high school sometimes during the week and he calls up a bunch of college players. I’ve seen Brandon Jennings there, Michael Roll (UCLA). But usually I just play at the Galen Center. We just get some of my teammates together and play five-on-five.

Bounce: What about this summer? Do you think you might come up to Vancouver to play in the Dolphin Park Tournament?
RW: Um maybe. I’m gonna be down here most of the summer training. During the summer, I play in the Say No League. It’s a league for all college basketball players. It just depends when I’ll be back in Canada. But I’d like to though.

11 Responses to “Ryan Wetherell Interview”

  1. Casey Lee says:

    Great interview!

    Canada’s basketball talent is definitely underrated.

    As for the Filipino population in college hoops…RW might as well claim his fame as the most known today. I hope to see him excel on the court and even earn that degree at USC if nothing else! Knowledge is power!

  2. Bobbito Garcia a.k.a. Kool Bob Love says:

    G! great interview, man! i’m glad my efforts with the Bounce puerto rico issue have inspired you to follow your own roots. you should also peep alex wolff’s BIG GAME, SMALL WORLD book that came out earlier this decade. there is a phenomenal chapter on playground ball in the philippines. also, tell ryan to check out this hot philippines pro jersey, may get him amped to play there one day!

    http://www.bouncemag.com/2008/05/15/jersey-of-the-month/

  3. JRoc23 says:

    OK DUDE GOT BRANDON JENINGS?!? GOTTA GIVE RESPECT FOR THAT!!! HOPE U GET MORE BURN THIS YEAR AND DONT LET ROMEO GET YOUR PT HAHAHAHA

  4. ali says:

    excellent stuff gerald. keep bangin’!

  5. Gerald Narciso says:

    Thanks guys!
    I agree with you Casey, Canada is definitely underrated. You’re from Detroit right? Did you ever go up to T-dot (aka Toronto) and play?

    Yeah I love those jerseys. That’s cool you saw someone rocking that in NYC! Also got to read that book. I was in the Philippines in ‘04 and they LOVE basketball. I played pickup in my parents’ hometown on Angeles City, and it was a lot of fun – they foul the shit out of you there though ha ha.

    I was reading up on the PBA and a lot of former NBA guys have played there like Chris Morris, Chris Porter and Chris Taft. Check this link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Philippine_Basketball_Association_players

    One thing I noticed was there were a whole lot of 6-1 power forwards and centers. haha. Genetics…what do you do? Also look at the nicknames of players. It is hilarious: Mr. Excitement, Atom Bomb, the Scavenger, Beauty Farlor and Billion Dollar Man

  6. Saku 39 says:

    Thanks for the interview.

    I’m not a fan of USC but now I have a reason to watch them play.

  7. Dan the Man says:

    The best pound-for-pound fighter in the world Filipino Manny Pacquiao is quite a streetballer (see at 28 seconds) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW3dWnSlT4s

    AND
    Ali, check me out at striking the pose with Pac-Man at: 2 minute 8 seconds

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc8BxnouUU

    You’ve got to Vogue…

  8. Casey Lee says:

    Gerald,

    Not from Detroit but I heard Toronto has ballers! They all really came out when they supported Rafer when he played for the Raptors..

    Another Canadian city not to sleep on–Vancouver!! Despite the weather, its close to Seattle and they always have some type of competition up there.

  9. Chris says:

    Vancouver is definitely on the rise! No doubt Nash has been instrumental in inspiring the young ones to ditch the skates and lace up sneaks, but the outdoor game has gotten hot over the years with Dolphin Park and Seattle cats like Jamal and Nate coming up to hoop!

    Look for more NCAA scouts to start coming north now, especially since UBC’s bid to play in Div 2 was approved..? Gonzaga’s got it right – Sacre, Kong (if his visa would work out), and then getting all-Canadians Arop and Olynyk this year… Van’s coming HARD!

  10. Billy Sunday says:

    good stuff… im half filipino and im playing junior college ball right im trying to move on and make some noise too

  11. pinoybrat says:

    dude! 6-1 Power forwards are from early 90’s… maybe you read the old articles… those nicknames that you brought here were already retired… there are 6-7 guys playing guards there…

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