Ryan Jolly’s senior season may not have gone as planned, but he secured his next four years Friday with a smile he couldn’t erase.
The Augusta Prep star guard signed his letter of intent to play basketball at Navy during a ceremony at the school’s gymnasium.
Jolly entered his senior season as one of the top scorers and all-around players in the area, including reaching 1,000 career points as a junior. Eyes were on him as expectations were high for another strong year for him and Augusta Prep.
Things changed in the blink of an eye when Jolly tore his Achilles tendon against Augusta Christian during the championship game of the Garden City Classic in December. He has sat out the rest of the year and recently started physical therapy.
“It’s been hard, especially watching the games,” Jolly said. “I want to be out there playing. I try to communicate to the players. I see a lot of the stuff from the bench. I try to communicate what I see and try to translate it to them. Being a leader, that’s changed a little bit.”
Jolly recently started walking without aide and is working his way back to full strength. He said he’s three to four months away from running and returning to his active ways.
Through it all, Navy’s commitment to Jolly never wavered, and the player felt the same toward the academy.
“I had another offer from North Georgia, but I just can’t pass up the Naval Academy,” he said. “The opportunity was there. I just couldn’t pass it up.”
More than just basketball goes into a commitment to Navy, but Jolly is prepared. He said his time on the bench this season has helped develop his leadership skills, especially important at the point guard position.
“Being able to talk and being a vocal leader, especially on the court, sitting on the bench has helped me with that part of my game,” Jolly said.
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.