Newburyport senior Ryan Short will never be confused for a superstar on the basketball court, but coach Tom L’Italien believes the forward’s contribution off the court can be quantified with the “superstar” label.
“I think what defines him is that he’s just got a great attitude,” L’Italien said. “I think that is the most important thing. No matter what the circumstances, he’s always making the best of it. Whether he is playing, not playing, whatever level he has been at, every coach has said to me, ‘Shorty has just got a great work ethic, and he’s got a great attitude.’ And on top of it all, he’s a great teammate.”
The oldest son of Newburyport High Hall-of-Famer Skip Short, Ryan has had a large shadow to come out from under, but in his singular fashion, he doesn’t see it that way at all.
“My dad is probably one of my biggest inspirations,” said Short. “He’s coached me ever since I was 5 or 6 years old. He’s been to almost every single one of my games and he’s always given me advice. It’s not a shadow — I think he’s trying to help me become great.”
It was Ryan’s devotion to his dad that caught L’Italien’s eye back when the forward was a freshman and asked for his dad’s old number, 22.
“He said it wasn’t a big deal, his father said it wasn’t a big deal,” said L’Italien. “But in this day and age, it is a big deal to us that a 14-year-old kid wanted to wear his dad’s number who played here. And that just speaks to the type of individual he is.”
A three-sport athlete (basketball, cross-country, baseball), Short is no slouch in the classroom either, having recently been accepted to Boston College and UMass Amherst. He hopes to study political science or economics with an eye toward law school.