Carmel’s Ryan Cline is my Mr. Basketball for 2015

by Kent Sterling

Ryan Cline will miss shots now and then, but it will always surprise you.

Ryan Cline will miss shots now and then, but it will always surprise you.  A chance to lead – he never misses those.

Great shooter.  Great kid.  Great winner.  Great leader.

Good enough for me.

I don’t know all the candidates for Mr. Basketball, the most coveted individual prize in Indiana high school basketball, but I’ve seen a lot of Carmel High School’s Ryan Cline and spoken to him at reasonable length.

He is the best high school shooter I’ve ever seen.  He’s among the best leaders.  And all he does is win, which is what he’s going to try to do tomorrow at Noon against McCutcheon in the Marion Regional.

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Cline doesn’t just make shots – his release and arc are relentlessly precise.  His confidence never wavers, and the results are remarkable, regardless of the situation.

Late in close games, and Carmel played a lot of close games this season, Cline takes the ball and provides the difference for the Greyhounds.

Carmel played in 13 games decided by 10 or fewer points this season, and won 11.  Four games either went to overtime or were decided by a single point, and Carmel won all four.  There are two ways to win those games, make shots under pressure, and cause the opponent to miss.

There is an undeniable feeling when Cline has the ball that every shot he takes will slice through the net.  People in the stands feel it, and so do opponents.  They do everything possible to keep the ball out of Cline’s hands, but can’t.  And when he gets a touch, he’s tough to keep from getting a clean look – a clean look is all he needs.

As good a shooter as Cline is, the response from teammates to his leadership might be even more important to Carmel’s success.  Late in games, Cline holds teammates accountable and they respond.

Talking to Cline, he’s confident, relaxed, and modest.  His features are relaxed, and the conversation is easy.  On the court, his face hardens into a controlled focus that borders on anger but never crosses a line.  There is no question for every second of a 32 minute game that Cline’s spirit is entirely devoted to the challenge of winning – not shooting, scoring, padding stats, laughing, relaxing, or taking a possession off.  All efforts are driven by what appears to be an unquotable desire to wring the potential greatness from each possession.

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Over Cline’s four years playing for Carmel, the Greyhounds are 91-10 with two state championships and a chance at a third.  Winning is what this kid does, and when he reports to Purdue this summer he is going to bring more than a jump shot to West Lafayette.

If there is a high school basketball player more deserving of Mr. Basketball in Indiana, and there could be because I haven’t met them all, he must be spectacular in every way.

5 thoughts on “Carmel’s Ryan Cline is my Mr. Basketball for 2015

  1. Mike Noone

    Kent, you indicated that Ryan Cline is the best high school shooter you’ve ever seen, which is, of course, saying a lot. Of then, the best shooters you have ever seen, could you kindly list them, and indicate why Ryan has an edge over them?

    I’m assuming that your list would not necessarily include Rick Mount, Jimmy Rayl, Steve Alford, Kyle Macy, Louie Dampier, and others my memory is not recalling, all of whom were great shooters, but were from past eras.

    Great article!!

    1. kentsterling Post author

      I would have to give that a lot of thought as I wouldn’t want to miss one who might deserve to be listed. Cline is the first kid I’ve seen where I was certain every shot was going in until it didn’t. I’ve never seen a shot of his hit the outside of the rim. Cline can not only make threes in every way – moving left, moving right, catching from wither side, stepping in, and catching from the inside out, his release and arc are precisely consistent. Late in games, I have never seen him miss a free throw.

      I’ve heard stories about Mark Price as a shooter, and Cline looks like a guy with that level of aim small, miss small mentality. He is going to make a lot of shots at Purdue.

  2. Greg

    I agree with you for the most part. But there is a kid very similar to Ryan and has the same name as well. His name is Ryan Welage from Greensburg High school. He led the state in scoring for most of the year averaging close to 30 points per game and also was highly ranked in other offensive categories. It appears the Star is not giving him much respect in terms of Mr. Basketball. I am not sure what they are looking at as far as Mr Basketball. Ryan is a great leader, person and student as well.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      I’m very familiar with Ryan Welage, and voted for him as an Indiana All-Star candidate. Terrific kid from a great family who can plat play.

      1. Greg

        I could not believe Ryan Welage was not included in the Supreme 15 in the All State voting. For being 6-8 or 6-9, the kids handles the ball very well and shoot well from the perimeter. I just don’t feel he is getting enough recognition since he is not from the Indy area.


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