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La Salle adds Ryan Zan to 2022 class at the final hour

08/30/2022, 10:00am EDT
By Owen McCue

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

If you told Ryan Zan several months ago he’d be on a college basketball roster this fall, he might have not believed you.

Even a few weeks ago, the most likely destination for Zan this upcoming school year seemed to be at Perkiomen School, where he would try and play himself into more college opportunities during a post-graduate season.

The New Jersey product isn’t officially cleared to suit up by the NCAA yet, but on Monday he moved to campus and enrolled in classes at La Salle University. HIs first day of class was Tuesday.

Zan should be cleared to hoop and on the roster in the next couple of days, even if it isn’t quite in time for the Explorers’ first practice on Wednesday. H is excited to play college basketball this year, even if it took until the last minute to come to fruition.

“I didn’t think it was possible,” said Zan, a 6-7 forward. “I always had hope but this is not where I thought I would be but I’m nothing but grateful for it.”

Ryan Zan, center, chose to play at La Salle instead of playing a post-graduate season a Perkiomen School, he announced Saturday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Zan’s New Jersey preps career took him from Hunterdon Central as a freshman to two seasons at Ranney School and a senior year at Rutgers Prep under Matt Bloom, who was a manager for first-year La Salle head coach Fran Dunphy for four years at Penn and spent six seasons working on staff for the Explorers from 2011-2017.

One June 15, Zan announced he was taking a prep year at Perkiomen School with a tweet of himself photoshopped into a purple Perk uniform. He played with the Panthers during the June high school live periods before playing for the East Coast Cyclones in July.

When CoBL checked in on Zan, at the Hoop Group Jam Fest in early July, he had offers from Millersville, West Chester and Jefferson with some Division 1 interest as a 2023.

La Salle grabbed Lithuanian forward Rokas Jocius in June as the first member of its 2022 class. In the last week of July they still had a roster spot open and offered Zan as a 2022. He visited campus a week later and mulled his decision for the next three weeks.

By the end of the summer, Zan also had an offer to play at Saint Francis-Brooklyn as a 2022 and interest from programs like Lafayette, Colgate, Elon, Stonehill and Holy Cross.

“It was a lot to consider because I could bet on myself and go to Perkiomen and see if I can get more scholarships or I can take La Salle now,” Zan said.

He made his decision to play at La Salle on Thursday and announced it on Saturday afternoon, this time tweeting out a picture of himself photoshopped into an Explorers’ uniform.

“It really kind of just hit me after I visited, ‘Am I ready to go to college right now? Or should I go do the prep year and bet on myself?’,” Zan said. “For three weeks considering options, it was a really stressful time, but I thought I could be ready for college and go play in the A-10 now and this would be a great experience. That was the main factor.”

“La Salle was the best option for me.”

Zan said La Salle grabbed his attention as soon as Dunphy was hired in April. 

The former Penn and Temple head coach and Explorers’ player checked in on his former staffer Bloom and Rutgers Prep during the high school season before he got the Explorers’ job.

“He saw me play and he didn’t know how I wasn’t being recruited, how I didn’t have a D1 scholarship,” Zan said. “He just really liked me from the beginning. It was all set from there.”

La Salle assistant Donnie Carr reached out in June and the Explorers’ staff was in attendance for some of Zan’s games during the June live period. They continued to contact him throughout the summer.

When Zan took his visit to 20th & Olney during the first week of August, it ‘felt like home’.

“Honestly, as soon as Coach Dunphy got the job, I was always interested in La Salle,” Zan said. “I just thought I could learn a lot from him, and I thought I could fit in with the community of Philly.”

“Just the coaching staff. I feel like I can learn a lot from Coach (John) Cox, Coach Carr and especially Coach Dunphy,” Zan said. “He’s a legendary coach and I can learn a lot from him. From what I’ve heard, he’s a really respectable guy and I can’t wait to learn under him. He’s been at two really good programs, Penn at Temple, and he has a lot of experience coming in and a lot to learn from.”

In Zan, La Salle is getting a forward who can stretch the floor and play inside and outside as well as with or without the ball in hands.

“They really liked my versatility,” Zan said. “They think I can play both inside and out. They think I can really add to the competition in practice and just make guys better. I’m excited to get started.”

As he was prepared to board at the Perkiomen School in the upcoming days, Zan didn’t have to do too much back-to-school shopping to prepare for his college move-in. He noted a mattress topper, bed sheets and more snacks were a few of the items he had to add to his inventory.

The past few days were still quite a whirlwind as he officially applied to the school then prepped his fall course load. 

He finally had the chance to settle into his dorm and catch his breath on Monday night.

“It was pretty crazy,” Zan said. “It all happened very, very fast and it was a rapid transition, but I knew it was ready for it and I’m just excited to get started.”

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