Before Ryan Smith spent the final years of his life inspiring thousands with his courageous battle against acute myeloid leukemia, he inspired them with his play on the basketball court and his attention to academic success.
As a result, LNP’s John Walk selected Ryan as our Inspirational Athlete of the Year. Ryan’s journey had been widely documented.
In high school, on the hardwood he led Lampeter-Strasburg to the 2018 Lancaster-Lebanon League title. He averaged 20.8 points and 11.4 rebounds that year and scored 1,080 points in his L-S varsity career. Only 3 of them came before his junior and senior year.
He was 2nd-team all-state in PIAA Class AAAAA, the L-L League Section Two Player of the Year. In the classroom Ryan held a 3.94 GPA and scored 1390 on his SAT test.
In college, he moved onto East Stroudsburg University on a full NCAA Division II basketball scholarship. He helped lead the Warriors to the NCAA Tournament and was named the PSAC East Freshman of the Year after averaging 16.9 points and 8 rebounds for ESU. In his final college game, he scored 30 points and grabbed 13 board in an NCAA tournament game. He was a dean’s list student that season as well.
However, Ryan’s basketball career came to an end when he was diagnosed with leukemia in August of 2019. From that moment on, Ryan has been a beacon of inspiration as he took on the disease head on with a ferocious positivity and a commitment. He motivated and captivated many through all of Lancaster County, the East Stroudsburg community and beyond.
Ryan passed away on Monday, March 22, 2021