PG South: Baldwin grad fits the bill at CMU
Share with others:
Carnegie Mellon basketball coach Tony Wingen saw flashes of Ryan Einwag's basketball potential when he was recruiting him at Baldwin High School.
When this 6-foot-5 wing player started playing against better quality opposition in postseason all-star games, Wingen got a sense of what Einwag could do against college-level competition and noticed his positive attitude.
The trick was convincing Einwag to come to Carnegie Mellon. It wasn't as hard to do as for some kids Wingen recruits. Einwag picked Carnegie Mellon over two other University Athletic Association schools -- Emory and Rochester -- and several Pittsburgh-area colleges for a few reasons, including its proximity to home and its strong academic reputation.
"I wanted the challenge," Einwag said. "Knowing the education I would get at Carnegie Mellon really helped. I knew it would be a great experience."
That's exactly what Carnegie Mellon athletics are about, Wingen said. Academics come first, with an emphasis on managing time and handling a rigorous, difficult class schedule.
"We are up front with recruits when they look at our school," said Wingen, the chair of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Committee on Academics. "They're going to choose CMU for academics first. We always joke that we hope basketball comes in a very close second."
There has been no confusion over priorities in Einwag's time on the school's Oakland campus. And it wasn't overly difficult for Einwag to focus on his school work, either. He was a member of the National Honor Society and received the Presidential Academic Excellence Award at Baldwin.
Wingen said Einwag has "well over a 3.0" grade-point average in business administration at CMU, which has the U.S. News & World Report's seventh-ranked business school among national universities. He's also the men's basketball team representative, along with best friend and teammate, Terrance Bouldin-Johnson, to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
He's the star of the basketball team, too.
Einwag knew the classes would be tough at Carnegie Mellon, especially with a basketball schedule on top of the class schedule. After five-plus semesters and practically three complete basketball seasons, Einwag seems to have found his groove, Wingen said.
Bouldin-Johnson, who is in his third year as Einwag's roommate, agreed with his coach.
"[Ryan] is just really organized and really smart," Bouldin-Johnson said. "He knows when to buckle down and get things done. That's really important when you're a student and an athlete, especially here."
Bouldin-Johnson has been by Einwag's side throughout his college development. From a wide-eyed freshman who played just 68 minutes the entire 2005-06 season to a second-team All-UAA performer as a sophomore, Einwag has made a big adjustment on the basketball court. All while maintaining his grades and social life.
"Ryan is one the best I've ever had at maintaining an even keel throughout all of this stuff that a CMU student-athlete has to deal with," Wingen said.
Wingen added that Einwag's friendship with Bouldin-Johnson has helped with every aspect of Einwag's experience because the pair shares values and dedication.
The duo takes every class together, eats every meal together and is often seen around campus together. They also share a house with two other buddies about a mile off campus.
The friendship began the summer prior to the 2005-06 school year, the first for Bouldin-Johnson and Einwag. When Wingen asked them if they wanted to be paired with another athlete, they both said yes. Then, the coach, who is in his 18th season with Carnegie Mellon, started running through his guidelines for pairing teammates. Einwag and Bouldin-Johnson, a 6-6 forward from Tukwila, Wash., seemed to be the perfect pair.
"I like to pair up a big man and a guard," Wingen said. "Then, I try to get a local guy to room with a kid from far away, so there is a local connection in case the kid from [out of town] can't go home for the holidays."
Bouldin-Johnson and Einwag exchanged e-mails and phone calls over that summer and, by the time they arrived on campus, already had hit it off. Einwag said he was fortunate to meet a friend right away.
"Everyone is anxious when they get to college about meeting people," Einwag said. "To have a roommate, whom you spend most of your time with, be someone who's cool, that really helped."
With his academic and social lives in order, Einwag has found success on the hardwood, too. On a senior-heavy team his freshman year, Einwag averaged 2.3 points a game. The next season, Einwag upped his points average to 15.4, while grabbing 5.8 rebounds a game.
This season, this brown-haired veteran has led his team in scoring 11 times and has scored in double figures 17 times. He averages a team-high 15.3 points per game.
His efforts have helped the Tartans (13-7, 3-6) remain competitive in the tough University Athletic Association, which features some of the top teams in NCAA Division III.
Before dropping two games on the road this past weekend, CMU had won three of four, including an upset of No. 1-ranked Washington University of St. Louis.
"He's a very talented, very patient scorer," Wingen said. "He makes good decisions and he's very consistent. He's definitely fulfilling the potential we saw in him when we were recruiting him."
First Published February 14, 2008 12:00 am