Last year, junior Ryan Sypkens was forced to sit the bench and watch as his teammates struggled through a 3-13 Big West Conference season. Sidelined with a knee injury, Sypkens was forced to take a medical redshirt year. He got his practice in shooting while sitting in a chair.
“There was a long time where I couldn’t walk,” Sypkens said. “I had to practice shooting from my wheelchair while I was sitting under the basket.”
This year, Sypkens has put all that form work to use. He has scored 104 three-pointers, ranking him second in the nation in total, and he leads the Big West in accuracy from beyond the arc with a 47.1 percent average.
“[Sypkens] is open when he’s in the parking lot. He’s put in an incredible amount of work and it’s a testament to him that his teammates and I are shocked when he misses from the three,” said head coach Jim Les.
Sypkens has also proved he is not all threes all the time. In the 860 minutes he has played this season he has tallied 92 rebounds, 44 assists and 12 steals. He also boasts a 73.9 percent free-throw average.
UC Davis is a vastly improved team this year and a large part of that is due to Sypkens. His knack for making threes means the Aggies are not without a momentum-building play for long. He is also a skilled defender and he has the height and jump necessary to contest shots from some of the taller players in the league.
This year is definitely an improvement from the last and Sypkens is reveling in it.
“It’s just nice to see all that hard work finally start to pay off,” Sypkens said.
— Kim Carr