Waiting on a call

Published 10:01 pm Friday, June 6, 2014

Ryshaun Hall working to achieve college hoops dream

Like most kids his age, minutes after Ryshaun Hall wakes up, he is on the phone. But Hall isn’t texting a girlfriend or sending Tweets, he is looking for someone to help him on his journey back to basketball.

Hall was a star on the court for three years at Pike County High School, and was an All-Area guard in each his last two seasons. His deadly outside shot, and ever-growing dribble-drive game, perked the interest of scouts around the area, including Sun Belt Conference heavyweight South Alabama.

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As his exploits grew, that phone began to ring more and more. Hall was close to realizing his dream of playing college basketball. But then it all came to a sudden halt in a patch of grass in Jack, Alabama.

Hall played centerfield for the Bulldog baseball team, and was well on his way to his third All-Area nod of the school year, until a play took him out of action and put him on crutches with a torn meniscus.

“I dove for a ball in the outfield, and after hitting the ground, something didn’t feel right,” Hall said. “I played a little bit longer, and came in the dugout and told my coach that it hurt pretty bad. We got the MRI the next day and it showed I had torn my meniscus. It hit me hard, because I though things were done. But the more I learned about it, I was thankful it was the meniscus and not the ACL or something else.”

In the days following his injury, the phone still rang, but it wasn’t college scouts. On the other end of the line were doctors telling him what the next step was, coaches telling him to keep his head up and family and friends wishing him the best.

While some might have figured the Hall’s promising hoops career was over before it ever really got started, the thought never crossed the young man’s mind.

“I knew I had to just get back to work, and do whatever it took to get back,” Hall said. “It was get the surgery now, and have a chance to play ball in college, or wait to get surgery and the chance is pretty small. I got the surgery as soon as I can, and then went right back to work to start rebuilding my strength. I wasn’t fun, but it was stuff that had to be done to achieve what I want.”

Hall is now well on his way to recovery, and in his words “the real journey starts now.” Every day Hall gets up at 6:15 a.m. and heads to the gym. He lends a hand with a youth camp before going to his job. Following work it’s a trip to therapy to continue to rebuild the injured knee. After completing all of the required duties of the day, Hall gets back on the phone again looking for a shooting partner for an evening hoop session.

But whether or not the call or text comes, Hall will be in the gym

“I’m shooting somewhere everyday,” Hall said. “A lot of times I play at a couple of games a day. There is a group of guys that

play at the Nat and they want to play with them. There is also a group that plays out here at the Rec Center

Wherever the game is, I want to be a part of it.”

Most days though, Hall gets the reply call. He, along with former Goshen standouts Deangelo Orum and Carlton Bean, and a few others regularly meet at the Troy Recreation Department for a spirited full-court game.

It is these games, against older, more mature competition, that Hall says has really helped his game improve.

“In high school, folks started guarding against my shot, and making me drive to the hoop,” Hall said. “Here, the games are little more physical. I know how to move my body to get the shot off and draw the foul. These hoop sessions have helped me a lot.”

Orum, himself an accomplished basketball player, said Hall is “back to where he was” before the injury.

Hall feels the same.

“I think I can play at the next level,” Hall said. “It is not up to me, but I have worked on my game a lot. The injury didn’t let me play as much as I liked to, so I had to watch more. I learned a lot watching.”

Hall is the first to admit that his dream is to play college basketball. He firmly feels that he has the skills to do so. But the confident young ball player also wants to use the game he loves to get a step ahead in life by getting a college education.

“Playing ball is just a vehicle to get an education,” said Hall. “I have the chance to use basketball to get a degree. That would be huge for me and a dream come true.”

Somewhere in a gym near you, Hall is pounding the rock and working on his game while is cell phone lies on the bleachers waiting for the one call he wants most.