North Texas graduate transfer Ryan Woolridge wasn’t interested in media attention or seeing his name all over social media when he was considering where he would play his senior season.
He was more interested in finding the right fit.
Woolridge was nearing a final decision – Minnesota was considered the frontrunner – before Gonzaga entered the picture. He visited Spokane over the weekend and committed Sunday to the Zags.
“I actually heard from (the Zags) a long time ago and they hit me back up maybe a couple weeks ago,” Woolridge said in a phone interview. “I was about to make a decision, but I opened it up and took a look at them. That’s how it went.”
And just like that, the Zags have found their probable starting point guard in Woolridge, who figures to join Texas A&M grad transfer Admon Gilder in the backcourt.
Woolridge visited Oklahoma State, Minnesota and Arkansas. He said Arizona was also in his final five. He heard from a number of schools in the last two weeks, including UCLA.
“I just had a list of checkmarks and I wanted to see which school would fill the most checkmarks,” said Woolridge, whose parents accompanied him on the trip to Spokane. “Gonzaga was the best fit for me in all those categories. I’m so comfortable with the coaches and players. It felt like the right move for me.”
Same goes for the Zags, who have been searching for another experienced, versatile guard. They brought in Derryck Thornton for a visit, but the USC grad transfer announced last Monday he was going to Boston College.
Starting point guard Josh Perkins and backup Geno Crandall were seniors on Gonzaga’s 33-win team last season and guard Zach Norvell Jr. opted to turn pro after his sophomore year. Rising sophomore point guard Greg Foster Jr. announced last week he was transferring to St. Joseph’s.
Gonzaga has revamped its backcourt with the additions of Woolridge and Gilder. Rising redshirt sophomore Joel Ayayi should be in the rotation and incoming freshman Brock Ravet will compete for time at point and shooting guard. Junior Corey Kispert started at wing last season.
Woolridge had surgery shortly after the season ended to repair a stress fracture in his patella (kneecap). He said his recovery is ahead of schedule and he’s already doing some light running and jumping. He expects to be at full speed for his senior season.
Woolridge averaged 11.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists as a junior at North Texas, earning third-team All-Conference USA honors. He made nearly 49% from the field, 33% behind the 3-point line and 54.2% at the free-throw line in 89 career games, including 76 starts, for the Mean Green.
“I definitely bring experience, quickness and an ability to read the defense,” said Woolridge, who has graduated and is eligible immediately. “I have a high IQ for the game and I bring grit, giving 100 percent every time I step on the floor.”
Woolridge had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Indiana State in December, the program’s first triple-double since 1993 and the only one by a Conference USA player last season.
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