After playing a prep season to prove he’s healthy and ready, Oliver committed to the Siena Saints on April 10th with a verbal commitment; choosing Siena over 17 other offers.
The journey for Oliver, who committed to the Saints by signing a National Letter of Intent on April 12th, almost ended in an AAU game the summer entering his senior year.
“I heard the pop in my leg and I just fell to the ground. I was grabbing my knee screaming in pain,” Oliver said. “It was horrible, I thought that was it.”
Oliver went on to find out that the injury he sustained during that AAU game was a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury, which required reconstruction of the ACL using a graft taken from his patella tendon, cost Oliver his entire senior season at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, California.
Being unable to play with his teammates, Oliver found a way to help out when his coach asked him to stay as a part of the team during practice and at games.
“He wanted me to still sit on the bench at games and travel but also stay with the coaching staff before a game and we’re watching film and scouting he wanted me to be a part of that,” Oliver said. “I learned a lot from the coaching staff.”
After his senior year Oliver went for a prep year at Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts. Oliver said he felt fully healthy one year after his surgery and went to Northfield Mount Hermon to prove his health. When Oliver reached Northfield Mount Hermon, head coach John Carroll and his coaching staff put him on a program to gradually ramp up his practice time. Oliver eased into practicing and did not miss a game until the end of the season.
“He was great, he was healthy and he looked phenomenal,” Carroll said of Oliver’s season. “He’s a very, very fluid player.”
According to MaxPreps.com, Oliver averaged 13.9 points per game and shot 42.2% from three point range during the season.
“He can score in bunches,” Carroll said. “He makes big time plays. So I think [Siena fans] can expect a lot of really good things from him next year.”
Siena’s staff closed in on Oliver throughout the season. Carroll said that Assistant Coach Tobin Anderson established a great connection with Oliver.
“Tobin has a lot of connections with our coaching staff and it was familiar territory for him, I think that helped with Ryan.” Carroll said. “He’s seen a bunch of his games, had a lot of good conversations [with Ryan] and developed a relationship that was obviously impossible to beat.”
Siena was watching Oliver early and often at Northfield Mount Hermon during the season. Oliver said the key to his commitment was establishing a relationship with Anderson.
“Tobin is just a really good guy,” Oliver said. “When we had conversations, it wasn’t always about Siena basketball. I just kind of felt really comfortable with him.”
Carroll said he remembered a game where Oliver helped lead Northfield Mount Hermon to a win over South Kent (CT) which featured Ricardo Ledo, a Providence commit and the #21 prospect on the ESPNU 100 prospect list, as one of his best performances of the season.
“Ricky [Ledo] is considered probably the best offensive player in the country,” Carroll said. “He wasn’t that night – that night it was Ryan.”
“[That game] was probably a turning point for our season where we started knocking off anyone who beat us, we beat them the next time we played them,” Carroll said. “I think that was due to the kind of confidence Ryan brought to us that day.”
Carroll said that Oliver will be an impact player for Siena right away.
“He has real poise with the ball in his hands,” Carroll said. “He really believes in himself as a scorer and as a teammate and I think he’ll contribute with an outside presence immediately.”
Oliver said he plans to major in marketing at Siena and said he looks forward to having an impact in the community.
“I met a lot of people during my visit,” Oliver said. “they’re all good people so just meeting more people and getting to work with the team and start achieving our goal.”
Oliver is the first Siena player in their Division I history to come from California. Oliver’s brother, Vince Oliver, played for UC-Davis and finished as the third leading scorer in school history with 1,523 points. Oliver holds the scoring record in UC-Davis’ Division I history. UC-Davis was certified as a Division I member in July 2007.