Four-star prospect, 2020 Center Ryan Kalkbrenner, was just wrapping up play at the annual Ramey Basketball Fall league when we met to discuss how the summer had prepared him for the upcoming season. The seven-foot Creighton commit from Trinity Catholic in St. Louis, MO, Ryan had a performance that was clearly aimed at sending notice to those who dared to challenge the slender giant. In fact, one of the first points that Kalkbrenner made during our discussion was that “his experience on the circuit helped him to grow into a more skilled and confident player.”  Ryan spent the summer playing for Mac Irvin Fire on the Nike EYBL circuit.

One look at the tall, slim senior may have emboldened his league opponents to attempt to score over him or try to muscle him about. However, after Ryan tallied more than ten first half blocked shots, a message had been clearly sent. Nevertheless, some would still try and by the end of the game, nearly every member of the opposing team was listed as a victim to one or more of his dunks or blocks.

This past weekend’s contest was all the more intriguing because Ryan was matched up against a shorter physical defender who was equally able to live above the rim, but, Kalkbrenner more than held his own. Asked how he approaches such matchups. Ryan shared that “he understands that he is taller than most players and he just continued to play his game the way he needs to.”  He added that following the summer, he is a lot more knowledgeable about how to use his length to his advantage and it helped him become a more dominant force on both ends.”  

When asked about his plans for the upcoming season, he stated “I’m looking forward to getting back to work with Rashad and winning state,” referring to his teammate and point guard of four years at Trinity Catholic, Rashad Weekly-McDaniels, a Central Michigan commit. As good as he was today, his upside is scarier. Ryan is a center that can also stretch the floor with his outside shooting. He has a knack for shot blocking and does so without racking up fouls. Ryan runs the floor well and is comfortable dribbling and passing out of backcourt pressure to ignite the break.  The future Blue Jay has his best basketball in front of him and with hard work and continued development his big picture projection could very well take him to the highest level before it’s all said and done.