Ryan Mutombo rising in 2021
Being the son of a former NBA star often comes with being blessed with great talent, but it can also come with great expectations. For Atlanta (Ga.) Lovett junior Ryan Mutombo, the son of former Atlanta Hawks star Dikembe Mutombo, there were frustrations for him in his development early in high school, but he credits his travel coach James Forrest, a former Georgia Tech star, for helping him persevere.
“He’s incredible,” Mutombo said. “The amount of commitment and honesty he’s given me over the last couple years and all the support, he’s pretty much the reason I am where I am today. He’s pushed me so hard, even when I felt like giving up or saw peers in my grade playing better than me. He told me it was going to be a process and wasn’t going to come easy. He said if I wanted it I would have to grind for it. I’m always going to be thankful for him.”
This season the 6-foot-11 Mutombo is averaging around 25 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks per game. With his increased production he is pushing for a spot in the 2021 Rivals150 and he's earned scholarship offers from Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Appalachian State, Indiana State and Richmond. Interest has rolled in from Florida State, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Stanford and Virginia. He’s already been on campus at Georgia Tech and plans to make another trip there soon as well as a trip to Georgetown.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Mutombo talked about his offers, interest, and the role his father will play in his recruitment.
Florida State: “My cousin Mfiondu Kabengele played at Florida State. He got drafted by the Clippers this year. I actually chatted with Coach [Leonard] Hamilton a little bit recently. It was just getting to know him. He’s a good guy and obviously my cousin is a big fan of him. He’s done a stellar job there.”
Georgetown: “I’ve known Uncle Pat [Ewing] my whole life, so that’s just like family to me. It’s obviously a blessing to be recruited by them. It’s such a storied program in college basketball. I’m looking forward to getting there for a visit this spring.”
“I’m looking more for the right fit for me. I know Georgetown is great and it’d be great to go to my dad’s alma mater, but I have to make sure I make the right choice for me if I’m trying to get to the next level beyond college. I’m just making sure I keep all my options open.”
Georgia Tech: “My visit was fantastic. Getting to see the type of facilities they have and getting to see what goes into a top program that like that was awesome. They did a great job breaking down their academics to me. On my visit, they stressed that when you go to Georgia Tech, it’s not just basketball. It’s academics first there.”
North Carolina: “UNC was always like my dream school growing up. Obviously I know all the history of Roy Williams and all the great players that have come through there, whether they were 1-and-dones or 4-year players. A lot of great basketball players have come through their program. It’s like a brotherhood there and one of the best programs in the country. I know they are struggling right now without Cole Anthony, but I know there is a great mind behind that program.”
Virginia: “I like how each player on their team shows how great their philosophy is and how every player completely buys into the program there. They don’t necessarily have superstars there, but they always have really good role players that make them really good every year.”
On the role his father will play in his recruitment: “During this process, my dad is really just there to support me no matter decision I make. He’s just there to support me and cheer me on. It’s always going to be love, even if I decide to go to like Syracuse. Mostly the questions I’ve asked him so far are about how to take care of my body at the next level and what to expect with the physicality. My dad was a four-year player at Georgetown, so he obviously has a lot of experience in balancing school and basketball playing on one of the best teams in the country.”
Mutombo’s recruitment will be fascinating to watch over the next year or so. His development over the past six to eight months has been remarkable. He’s put on 20-25 pounds in that time and he’s become a much more efficient and confident offensive player. Defensively, it shouldn’t come as a surprise given his size and length combined with who his father is that he’s dominant interior defender.
The Class of 2021 center says he plans on taking his time with the process and won’t be deciding until late in his senior year. Given his father’s ties to Georgetown and Patrick Ewing, the Hoyas have a pretty obvious in here. With his travel coach’s ties to Georgia Tech and his proximity to its campus, expect the Yellow Jackets to stay in the mix here as well.
Mutombo did admit North Carolina was his dream school. If the Tar Heels take their interest and turn it into an offer, that could get hot quick. There is also the academic component here. He’s a really good student, so schools with strong academic reputations will have a shot here as well.