Ryan Lobdell’s four-year journey as a Wildcat basketball player has been an uphill process. During his first three seasons with the Wildcats, the senior from Sherwood, Ore., found himself in a reserve role behind some of the finest guards in the Northwest Conference.
Recent graduates Steve Taylor and Cody Tesoro played prominent roles in the backcourt, forcing Lobdell to hone his talents with the junior varsity squad, before coming off the varsity bench during the 2009-10 campaign.
After a season in which he played 3.6 minutes per game, Lobdell has seen his minutes jump to 20.6 while starting 12 games. With more responsibility as the team’s starting point guard, along with more minutes, Lobdell has developed a different mindset toward his preparation as a starter.
“What has changed is more the mentality you come into a game with,” explains Lobdell. “Each game you know you are going to play a lot of minutes as opposed to maybe getting 10 on some nights. It hasn’t been too hard of an adjustment because I know before the game I will play a lot and can prepare myself to do that.”
Lobdell’s ability to step into a starting role has been met with consistent results.
The senior is averaging 6.4 points per game and shooting 49.2 percent from the floor. On the defensive end of the court, Lobdell leads the Wildcats with a team-high 11 steals.
Lobdell has been a great fit in head coach Larry Doty’s system, giving the ‘Cats a consistent leader on both ends of the floor.
“It is all about getting us into our offense,” notes Lobdell. “Then I look for guys like K.C. (Wiser), Sergio (Rosario) and Zach (Anderson) who are great offensive players. I just take the open shot when I get it.”
Lobdell’s development has been a process that has evolved over three years. Hard work and commitment to the program has allowed Lobdell to seize the opportunity as a senior.
Part of Lobdell’s maturation process came through the opportunity to watch guards like Taylor and Tesoro. Despite playing behind them, Lobdell made the most of the situation, learning all he could from those in front of him.
“I learned from watching them run the team and what they did,” says Lobdell. “I tried to see the things that worked or didn’t work for them. A lot of guys go out there for their senior year and wish they would have done more, so watching those guys helped me prepare for this season.”
Three years after arriving on the Linfield campus, Lobdell has become the player others look to. Wiser, a fellow senior and friend, has seen the way in which Lobdell’s presence has rubbed off on younger players.
“Lobby fits in great with the team chemistry, acting as a mentor to some of the younger point guards,” notes Wiser.
Along with learning from older players, Lobdell spent countless hours working on his game, while building strength through a dedicated strength and conditioning program.
“My ball-handling has gotten a lot better and I’ve gotten stronger in the weight room,” reflects Lobdell. “That’s what they told me to do when I came in as a freshman. It’s a lot different playing against the size of players in college than in high school."
Despite facing the adversity of waiting till his senior year to see significant minutes, Lobdell has no regrets.
“You just have to keep working and doing what the coaches tell you,” advises Lobdell. “If they tell you to get in the weight room then do that because you have plenty of time to get better. If you put in the work and it will pay off.”
Lobdell’s ability to stay with the program and continue to improve has not gone unnoticed by teammates such as Wiser.
“Paying his dues and sticking with Linfield basketball for four years shows a lot about Lobby's character,” explains Wiser. “He stuck in there and now he realizes it is his turn to step up to the challenge. As a player he is very competitive and hates to lose. As a person it is hardly any different.”
After graduating this spring Lobdell looks to pursue a job in finance, after a possible summer of traveling. Following this season, Lobdell will take away countless memories, spanning from Linfield’s 7-1 start in Northwest Conference play a season ago, to memories that will be created in the coming months.
More than anything, Lobdell will leave with an appreciation for a four-year road that he has journeyed through hard work and commitment.
“It makes this year all that more important,” says Lobdell. “I’m definitely glad I stuck with it because this year has been great.”
–Eric Evenson '11
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