Ryan Donnelly chose Cal State Stanislaus and couldn’t be happier.
Surrounded by family members, teammates and classmates, the 6-foot-6 235-pound Central Valley High School senior signed a national letter of intent earlier this month to continue his basketball career with the Warriors next winter.
“Ever since I was little, I always wanted to play in college,” Donnelly said. “The fact that I got a scholarship it’s a dream come true. I worked hard for it.”
Parents Rick and Teresa, and siblings Shannon and Christina, attended the special ceremony on Nov. 13 at Hawk Gymnasium.
“It’s surreal he’s going to Stanislaus,” Shannon said. “I didn’t persuade him. He made the decision by himself. I definitely support it 100 percent. All of his hard work and dedication paid off. I’m so proud of him.”
Ryan will follow in the footsteps of older sister Shannon.
“She’s always been there to push me—make me do the extra stuff like sprints, conditioning and practice,” Ryan said. “It really helped me get to where I’m at.”
Shannon had her No. 35 jersey retired by the Cal State Stanislaus women’s basketball team in 2003. The 1999 Ceres High graduate was inducted into the Warriors’ Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.
Shannon was a three-time All-American and four-time All-Region player at Stanislaus.
She averaged 20.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game and led the Warriors into the NCAA Division-II tournament for the first time in 12 years in 2002-03.
In four seasons, Shannon averaged 19.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game and shot 52.7 percent from the field. She holds nearly every offensive record in program history, including points in a game (42), season (612) and career (2,088). Her single-season averages of 21.9 points (2002-03) and 12.8 rebounds (1999-00) are also school records.
Shannon played professionally overseas.
She spent parts of two seasons with Ullern in Oslo, Norway.
She led the club to a second-place finish at the Norwegian Basketball Association Championships in 2003-04.
Donnelly averaged 36.3 points, 15 rebounds and 2.5 steals in 12 games.
Shannon earned a tryout with the Sacramento Monarchs in May of 2005.
“He was so young when I played so he has no idea anything that I did,” Shannon said. “It works out better so he really doesn’t have the expectations. He’s already made it clear he wants to be better than me. I hope he is. I definitely see him working hard to get better every day. He adapts to what his competition is. Once he sees the level and speed of how it is in college, I think he’s going to do well.”
“I like the team and coach,” Ryan said. “It’s local. My sister played there. She had all the records. I’m going to try to break some, too.”
Ryan, formerly of Pitman, had a productive first season with Central Valley during the 2012-13 season. He was selected to the Western Athletic Conference First Team as a junior. He averaged 16.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
Ryan impressed Stanislaus during the summertime.
“I’m happy for him,” said Darryl Dickson, Central Valley’s head coach and Shannon’s husband. “It’s a perfect fit. They’re getting a hard-working kid. He’s the first to practice and last to leave. He’s got a lot of upside. He’s only played organized basketball since his sophomore year.”
“Darryl’s taught him a lot,” Shannon added. “He’s led him in the right direction.”
Rick, Teresa, Christina, Shannon and Darryl will be among the fans in attendance, along with former teammates and classmates, when Ryan competes for Stanislaus.
“We’ll be at every home game and as many away games as we can,” Shannon said. “I’ll be there to support him just like my family was there for me when I played.”