Kamloops, BC—It didn’t take Pat Hennelly long to secure his first recruit for the 2018-19 Canada West men’s volleyball season. And he is a good one.
Hennelly returned to the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack after a one year sabbatical and promptly announced the signing of 6’7” Ryan Adams from Sherwood Park, Alberta. Adams is considered to be one of the top prospects in the nation.
“We are very pleased that Ryan is our first committed recruit for the 2018 class,’ says Hennelly. “Ryan was first brought to my attention by Josh Mullaney (entering his 3rd season with the ‘Pack), who deserves a lot of credit for Ryan choosing TRU. Ryan is a big body with a lot of upside in the sport of volleyball.”
Adams is an outside hitter who will graduate from Archbishop Jordan High School in Sherwood Park this coming June. He says the decision to come to the WolfPack and study in the Bachelor of Arts program at Thompson Rivers followed his visit to Kamloops in the spring. “I loved the campus vibe and everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I like how you can walk everywhere around the campus. I loved the Tournament Capital Centre and felt at home right away.”
Adams played club volleyball for FOG in Edmonton under the direction of Greg Elgert. “ We have always seen Ryan as a player with a high ceiling as a player, but when we first recruited him he had not played at a high level and didn’t have the experience that many of the players his age did. What we saw was a tall athlete who moved well for a big guy and had a great arm for hitting. We felt he was a player that we would see strong improvements. By his U-18 year, we believed he would be a dominant hitter. Ryan worked hard during his U-17 year and by about mid-season, he was working his way into being our starting right side.”
Elgert adds: “He is very coordinated for a big man. He has good skills. Ryan is still a developmental player. He needs to play more volleyball to improve his game in all aspects. However, physical strength will be the primary thing for him to work on to enable to play at the U Sports level. He certainly has shown amazing improvement over the last year and that improvement has caught the notice of many U Sports coaches. I know that Ryan has worked hard this year, not only with our team but doing camps and individual training. His determination has been essential to his improvement and I believe he could become a strong U Sports Player.”
Adams was a member of Team Alberta U-17 which competed at the 19U USA High Performance Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His coach was Jordan Taylor. “ Ryan has the ability to get the ball high offensively and attack with pace in system. He also has a presence at the net as an Off Blocker. Ryan loves the sport, he plays with passion and will be a great fit at TRU.’
Adams agrees that his passion for the game and his enthusiasm has brought him a long way in a short time. “ I try to boost up my team with energy and celebrate good plays. I know it will be an adjustment moving to Canada West. The speed of the game is at a totally different level. I have been playing with U Sports athletes at Pursuit Volley across Alberta the past few years so I am prepared to learn and develop fast to adapt for this level.”
During his time at Pursuit, he became friends with Mullaney—who will be entering his fourth season with TRU when Adams comes to the ‘Pack as a rookie. “Josh was a coach there and shared many stories about how great Thompson Rivers is. I will appreciate him being here to support me as well as the rest of the team.
Says Mullaney: “I first played with Ryan at the Pursuit Volley camp in Edmonton a few years ago, and since then it’s always been a dream of ours to share the court in a USport game. He has progressed from a gangly monster who had troubles walking, to one of the best athletes in his age group, and I think it’s only the beginning for him. It’s amazing to see how much he’s developed, not only physically but also mentally. Through my experiences with Ryan I’ve learnt so much about volleyball and myself. I really see myself in him and definitely believe he can surpass me if he sets his mind to it. I love Ryan like a brother and it’s a dream come true to know that he is coming to share this amazing crazy journey with me. I couldn’t be more excited that he’s finally going to be part of the Pack, and that I will be at his side while we follow our dreams together. “
Adams adds that making a decision on where he would attend university (he was also looking at UBCO in Kelowna, BC and MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB) before his grade 12 year was important. “ I knew TRU was my number one pick after my visit in March. It feels great to have made my decision before starting grade12 and start to plan for my move to TRU next summer. I also made a strong connection with Coach Hennelly over our shared passion for volleyball and TRU has a long established volleyball program.”
Hennelly states about his first recruit of 2018: “ I think Ryan has a tremendous upside not only in his U Sports time but beyond post-secondary. We believe that Ryan is a great fit for our program as a person and as a student. I look forward to Ryan joining the WolfPack and coaching him over his U Sports career.”