New city, new team. Is Ryan Boyce GSU’s next great transfer?

After transferring from the University of Memphis, Ryan Boyce is here to help give Panther fans another thing to look forward to in the coming years for athletics. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

When Ryan Boyce announced his transfer from the University of Memphis to Georgia State, the landscape of the Panthers basketball program for the next couple of years changed.

As a three-star recruit out of Germantown, Tennessee, the six-foot, six-inch guard committed to the University of Alabama at Birmingham in December 2016 as a junior at East High School. But six months later, he enrolled at Memphis. The decision to transfer was easy for Boyce.

“I played for Penny since eighth grade, and I transferred my 11th-grade year to East High School,” Boyce said. “So it was kind of an easy decision when he got the job at Memphis cause I’ve been with him since eighth grade so I thought I knew the system [and] how he coached.”

But Memphis and UAB were just two schools that wanted the small forward: The University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Maryland, Villanova University and Iowa State were among the sixteen offers for Boyce.

“[The recruitment process] was a good process and everything,” Boyce said. “It was a good experience going to different colleges, taking visits, and all that stuff.”

His time at Memphis was cut short after just a few games in a Tigers uniform. Boyce ultimately was redshirted his freshman year and, after five games in the 2019-20 season, entered the transfer portal.

“I had this guy kind of talking to schools for me when I was at Memphis cause he knew I was transferring,” Boyce said.

Boyce remembers his junior year of high school, though. It was not until then that he realized he had a chance to play college basketball and how big the sport was at an amateur level.

“I watched college basketball, I grew up watching the University of Memphis cause that’s my hometown all 20 years of my life,” Boyce said. “It was a good experience. I actually didn’t know it was that big until my 11th-grade year when people were blowing it up and stuff. So I was like, ‘OK, people actually care for stuff like that.’”

His decision to head to UAB was one that many expected. 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball Predictions gave the Blazers a 57% chance to land him; the next highest team was the Florida Gators at just 29%.

Coach Hardaway believed Boyce would be a piece to lead his team’s reserves. A year and a half after committing to Memphis, much has changed for Boyce. But now as a Panther, he feels like he truly made the best decision for him and not one that he will reverse like with Memphis.

“It was kind of an easy decision when [head coach Rob Lanier] called. I talked to him, I got to meet coach Warren on the phone. I liked how they were talking about the program. I got interested in it so I told him I wanted to take a visit and everything here,” Boyce said.

Coming into the season, the Panthers were facing plenty of transitions. The team had a new coach in Lanier, a new leader in Kane Williams and a fan base that was ready for a third-straight Sun Belt Conference title.

Boyce announced his transfer to join Georgia State less than two months after the season started. Memphis drew in more media attention than most schools. The Panthers were undercovered with media; they have always been one of the more undercovered teams in college sports.

Did Boyce come to Atlanta to escape the attention? Maybe. Maybe not. The question can be answered in a number of ways. One thing is for sure, though: This guy wants to win ball games.

“The media stuff, that’s cool and everything, but if you’re not winning games, it can come back to haunt you cause fans will come back talking crazy if you don’t live up to the hype,” Boyce said.

One advantage for Georgia State was the prior relationship Coach Lanier had with Boyce during his initial recruitment. Before Georgia State, Lanier was an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee. He signed many high school recruits as a member of the Volunteers coaching staff, including the 22nd overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Grant Williams of the Boston Celtics.

“I remember coach Lanier, when I was in high school, when he was the coach at Tennessee, I remember him recruiting me there,” Boyce said. “It was kind of an easy decision when he called. I talked to him, I got to meet Coach Warren on the phone. I liked how they were talking about the program. I got interested in it, so I told him I wanted to take a visit and everything here.”

But it was not just coaches who lured in Boyce. Players such as sophomore guard Jojo Toppin introduced Boyce to a campus like no other and spoke highly of the school in Atlanta with little media coverage. In fact, Toppin may deserve more credit than anyone realizes, including himself.

“I kind of knew [Toppin], but I didn’t know him personally, so it was good to meet him,” Boyce said. “He told me about the program, how everything worked out here. He gave me, like, an inside scoop on what they do here, so I feel like he’s a big reason why I committed here too.”

Give credit to Lanier and Toppin, but be ready for Ryan Boyce. Beyond basketball and the controversies he witnessed firsthand at Memphis this past year, there is plenty to look forward to. His experiences shaped him. They turned him into the person he is today. 

“I’m humble,” Boyce said. “Most people think that since I played in Memphis, [with] all the hype and stuff, that I’m going to be cocky. I just want everyone to know that I’m a good person. Anybody can come up to me, talk to me, I’ll talk to anybody. I’m cool, I can get along with anybody.”