Ryan Ongala to shoot hoops at Emporia State


Ayden Clayton, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Ayden Clayton – Senior Ryan Ongala poses to take a photo while on the phone with Emporia State staff during his off period. Ongala recently committed to Emporia State and will attend the university for the school year of 2018-19.

Ryan Ongala, a senior who plays for Rangeview’s basketball team, stands at 6’6 with a 7’1 wingspan. Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Central Africa), Ongala immigrated to the United States with his family back in 2001 when he was two years old. Ongala never really had aspirations for basketball until his seventh grade summer where he stood over all of his classmates at 6’4.

Last school year, Ongala was all conference honorable mention after the season ended for Rangeview hoops. He has been on the varsity basketball team for three years. His senior year will be his fourth year learning under basketball coach Shawn Palmer.

This past summer during Ongala’s AAU season with the Colorado Miners Elite, Ongala received an athletic scholarship from Emporia State University in Kansas. Emporia state is a Division II University that plays out the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

Ongala stated that he is one of three student athletes recruited by the University this year and is going to be switching up his position from a center to a small forward/power forward in order to expand his game to the next level.

In Ongala’s early life, he stated that he never wanted to play basketball, as he considered himself to be a “stay at home and play games” type of kid. But people encouraged him to play.

On Friday September 23rd, Ongala visited Emporia State and was welcomed by the Hornet Family.

“The campus was very friendly, and the people make you feel welcomed,” Ongala said.

Ongala verbally committed to the Emporia State Hornets On Friday September 3rd after his visit. Ongala also met with the players and many of the Emporia State students by having a NBA 2k17 tournament in the dorms.

“One of the things that I did was watch the college football game,” Ongala said. “It was a really good experience, pretty exciting.”

Considering the fact that Ongala recently turned 18, he stated that this is a dream come true and that he really would like to see how his future is going to be mapped out by turning a new page in his book. Ongala stated college basketball is on another level of competition compared to high school basketball.  

“What I noticed is when I had a workout with the team, it was way more uptempo; it was more harsh,” said Ongala. “If you mess up, you just have to deal with it and fix what you messed up. When I started playing more I got my nerves out of me.”

Though this was Ongala’s first offer, he made the choice to commit because he felt as though it was a good fit.

“Me and my family really felt that Emporia State had all the right pieces in place, and we were really content with everything,” he stated.

Cade Palmer, a freshman on the Rangeview basketball team, stated, “Ryan has been a leader so far this year and I know he’ll bring that into his college career.”

Ongala believes Emporia State was truly meant for him and is excited to attend in the fall of 2018 to start off the season.

Jaden Gale, a sophomore who is another teammate of Ongala, said, “Ryan is a good teammate and his hard work paid off. He has much more work to do but he will be a good piece at Emporia State.”

Ongala will take his journey into intercollegiate sports. Check out some of his highlights below: