When he was in high school, St. Marys native and Elk County Catholic High School graduate Ryan Seelye attended an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) game in the Petersen Events Center with some friends and family.
He watched as the Pitt Panthers ran out of the tunnel, and he visualized what it could be like to make this dream a reality.
Standing 6’6”, Seelye surely is built to play college basketball, but his path to get there was a unique one.
The former ECC Crusader moved into Pitt in the summer of 2015 a week before classes were slated to kick off. He had chosen biology as a major and planned on taking on medical school after the completion of his undergrad.
Seelye chose going to Pitt over playing basketball for the likes of Juniata, Thiel, and Penn State DuBois. He also received some mail from Cornell and Harvard football, but never pursued this endeavor. What he did decide was a good education, and the University of Pittsburgh did provide that.
Just a few days after moving in, Seelye decided that he was interested in making a dream of playing college basketball at Pitt a reality. “The night before school started I decided to email the entire staff and list some credentials,” said Seelye. I heard back from two of the coaches, and they invited me to play pickup with the team on Monday afternoon.”
Seelye went to this pick up session, and he was performing well. We made some three’s, grabbed some tough rebounds, and kept up with the game speed. After pick-up concluded, he was approached by former Pitt and current Texas Christian University (TCU) Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon.
具有讽刺意味的是，Seelye并不是第9区的唯一一个与Pitt Basketball队一起使用的区域。2013年Smethport Graduate Zach Smith使球队成为一个漫步，这是在这些拾取游戏中，这两个第一次见面了。
After two more days of pick up, Seelye did not hear from anyone on the team that Thursday. However, he did hear from some of the coaches that Friday and made his way across campus with James Robinson, one of the former star guards on the 2015-2016 Pitt Panthers team and a former ESPN Top 100 Recruit.
After meeting with the coaches, Seelye was asked to join the team as a walk-on. He graciously accepted, and he could not wait to tell some of his friends and his family.
Though Seelye loves basketball, he lists Friday Night Lights as something he misses most. “Driving around on a Friday night and seeing those lights, it makes me miss my friends and so many memories. There is nothing like high school football to me.”
Seelye spent a season and a half as a member of the Pitt basketball program, and he was a part of a Panther team for the 2015-16 season who won 20 plus games and went to both the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
He remained with the team for his sophomore season for the Fall, but decided to focus on school and wanted the experience of being a student and not a student-athlete. This change helped Seelye find what was important in life, and that was his education, career, and his support system.
“我不再玩之后,我做了一个伟大的努力reconnect with so many who I just could not see or talk with as much as I wanted to when I was playing. That took a toll on me when I was playing, and some people just do not understand what it is like to be an athlete at that level. For comparison, some of my teammates would shoot and workout until 2AM and then be up at 7AM for lifting. Being a student-athlete at that level is like working two full-time jobs to me.”
Looking back nearly four years, Seelye has nothing to be regretful of. He played Division I basketball in the ACC, graduated from Pitt with a degree in Economics, he spent a semester abroad in Auckland, New Zealand, and he gained valuable work experience in several different industries.
The Elk County native graduated from Pitt in December of 2019, and decided Colorado was a place he could see himself enjoying. Seelye has lived in both Boulder and Denver, and has worked as a financial analyst since March of this year.
He is close to obtaining his license in skydiving, and has been skydiving in multiple states and countries.
The former Pitt forward still plays some pick-up basketball, but admitted he did not pick up a ball for several months or attend many games for the remainder of his sophomore season. “It hurt giving it up,”Seelye said. Pitt basketball was so good to me and actually tried to have me take different roles with the team, but I stood firm in my decision.”
The love of sports will always be existent for this small town kid, but his passions are wide. In fact, on his bookshelf sits 20th century classics, agriculture novels, and books related to finance. His brain is like a sponge, and he is quick to dive into learning new topics.