When an athlete is offered a full-ride scholarship to a university for their sport, they more often than not will take advantage of the opportunity and attend that school. For junior basketball guard Justin Ringen, however, this was not the case.
Originally playing Division II basketball for Dominican College, Ringen decided after two years that it was not the college for him. While he enjoyed the basketball team there, the school’s academics were not what he was looking for. Geneseo seemed to match all of Ringen’s criteria: it was a SUNY school, the academics were more challenging, he already knew some of the students here and he still had the opportunity to finish his last two years of playing basketball in the NCAA.
This semester is Ringen’s second one here—he transferred here in spring of 2015—so he has yet to fully compete at the Division III level since the men’s basketball team has only had one game. During that one game, however, Ringen started strong—leading all scorers in the first half with 14 points. He finished the 89-85 victory over Medaille with a total of 22. Proving his value this early on in the season will put him in a better position for the remainder of the year.
For many, transferring to a new school and starting on a new team can be very difficult, especially when having to learn your way around a new campus while also adjusting to a different team chemistry. Ringen certainly did not come in alone, however. Ringen explained that senior forward Nick Fessenden and senior guard Kevin Zabranksy are his best friends from home. The trio come from Harborfields High School and have known each other for years.
While one may see this as enough of an advantage for any transfer athlete, Ringen also transferred in with junior guard John Decker, a teammate from his team at Dominican. Ringen had basketball history with all three of these men, establishing an immediately strong team dynamic when stepping onto the court as a Knight.
“This being my first year, having friends on the team that I have played with already will help with the chemistry. I played with John Decker too, he went to my old college,” Ringin said. “So because there are already guys that I have played with here at Geneseo, it really helps me with building the new team chemistry. The fact that we have already played together gives us an established feel going into the season.”
This looks to be a promising season for Ringen—everything seems to be in the right place for him. Being welcomed onto the team by old friends, having the academics that he wants and starting off the first game strong are all positive attributes to a fresh start at a new college. With all of these advantages, Ringen is sure to prove that he belongs as a Geneseo Knight.