Junior Ryan Daly was entrenched in Saint Joseph’s basketball long before he joined the team. His grandfather, Jim Boyle, played for the Hawks from 1962 to 1964 and served as head coach from 1981 to 1990. Daly’s father, Brian Daly, played from 1989 to 1992. Current Director of Basketball Operations and former graduate assistant video coordinator and student manager Thomas Boyle is the younger Daly’s cousin.
Daly grew up in nearby Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and shined at Archbishop Carroll, helping his team to the 2015 state finals.
The 6-foot-4 guard was named the Philadelphia Catholic League Most Valuable Player, the Markward Club City Player of the Year, and the Delaware County Player of the Year his senior year. He also earned recognition on the AAA All-State First Team, the All-Main Line First Team, and All-City First Team that season. Not a bad résumé.
St. Joe’s hadn’t recruited Daly while he was in high school, though, so he committed to play at Delaware. With head coach Martin Ingelsby starting his Delaware career the same year as Daly, it seemed to be a good fit.
Only looking at the stats, it was a good fit. Daly led the Blue Hens in scoring both seasons. He earned All-Colonial Athletic Association Third Team honors in back-to-back years. He was the 2017 CAA Rookie of the Year. He scored 1,000 points in his two seasons.
Something didn’t feel right, though.
“I just didn’t fit in there,” Daly said. “I didn’t like it, to be honest. I went through some stuff, family, mentally, that I just didn’t really want to be that far away if I had a chance to come closer.”
After mulling over his situation, Daly asked for his release from Delaware in mid-March. He was granted a full release, and schools began contacting him shortly after.
St. Joe’s didn’t waste any time in reaching out to Daly. He visited campus, and everything fit. Given his familiarity with the school, it wasn’t a difficult decision.
“I’ve been here so often because my dad played here, and my grandpa played here,” Daly said. “I just wanted to be somewhere close and it fit the best of both worlds, basketball-wise and the size of the school made sense for me.”
His family never pressured him to transfer to St. Joe’s, but they were thrilled with his decision. Daly also knew many of the Philadelphia-area players from his high school and AAU days, so the choice was perfect.
Daly acclimated to his new team and environment easily and struck up a close friendship with freshman Jared Bynum over the summer.
“[We’ve] been walking around, going places. I think that’s been very good,” Daly said. “I needed someone new because I’m still unfamiliar, but the guys on the team have done a great job with everything.”
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Daly will have to sit out the 2018-19 season. It’s a weird feeling and different from the role he’s used to playing, but he’s making the most of it.
Daly still practices with the team, which helps him learn more about how the Hawks play. While that knowledge will be helpful when he takes the court next season, he also strives to help his teammates improve this season.
“I’m going to try to compete and beat them every day and try to bring the best out of everyone,” Daly said. “I know I can’t play, so I’m going to try to make them better while I’m on the practice team.”
Redshirting this season gives Daly time to develop his game, focus on areas of improvement, and prepare for next season. He’s taking a broad approach for the time being, working on improving every aspect of his game, though ball handling and refining his athleticism are at the top of the list.
The Hawks were picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, and the prospect of being part of a winning team excited Daly. The Blue Hens had tough seasons while he was there, going 13-20 his freshman year and 14-19 his sophomore season.
“I had a great two years [at Delaware] individually, but my team wasn’t that good,” Daly said. “Here, we’re a much better team, so my role will be significantly less, which I’m perfectly okay with. I just want to win. I’m really happy to be here. I think we have a chance to do something special in the next two or three years.”
Opening night of the 2019-20 season is far away, but Daly has plenty to do and look forward to until then. He’s behind the scenes, helping his teammates excel in practice and improving his skills.
You won’t see him on the court for now, but look to the sidelines and you’ll see him cheering on his fellow Hawks, helping younger players, and filling whatever role he needs to.
“I think [redshirting the season] will be good,” Daly said. “I have a lot of experience playing in the last two years. I played a lot of minutes, so I can talk to Jared and others… I think the guys on the team know that I have some experience and they can come to me.”