Like a renaissance artist or a classical musician, Utah Valley guard Ryan Toolson is in danger of becoming underappreciated for his artistic trade until well after he has moved on.
As a junior, Toolson has one more year to display his high-arching jumper and 23.7-point average night in and night out on the basketball court. His scoring ranks him sixth nationally, while his near-perfect free throw shooting would have him first in the nation at 95 percent.
Last week in a win over Chicago State, Toolson faced off with the Independent League’s top scorer in 5-foot-8 guard, David Holsten.
Toolson finished with an eye-popping 38 points, including converting on a four-point play after being fouled before draining a three-point shot, a beyond-NBA-range three and two breakaway dunks to preserve the win in overtime.
Those who witnessed his heroic effort: friends and family of the players and a handful of students.
On what other university campus in America can the school’s top athlete stroll through the hall and not be recognized or sit anonymously in the back of the classroom?
Luckily, he’ll be back next year as a senior. It would be a shame if one of the best basketball players ever to suit up in a Wolverine uniform went unnoticed.
It’s rare that an athlete like Toolson, who is magical to watch, comes around, and Utah Valley has been fortunate enough to have a few of them.
Ronnie Price, who now plays for the Utah Jazz, starred at Utah Valley a few years ago. His ability to light up the scoreboard and win games for the Wolverines should have laid out the red carpet for Toolson.
Nevertheless, the enthusiasm that used to burn with Wolverine basketball pride has apparently burned out.
With two home games remaining for Utah Valley, Feb. 23, against NJIT and March 1, against Cal State Bakersfield, opportunities to see Toolson are becoming limited this season.
While attendance at Wolverine sporting events has always been low, the chance to witness something unforgettable is worth the price of admission.