• Dan Russoman

Staiger remains involved in basketball


Ryan Staiger, left, dribbles past St. Joseph’s Aaron Spellman during a game played in 2005. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—Ryan Staiger was a standout basketball player for Hammonton High School from 2002-2006. A powerful post player, Staiger ranked among the top scorers and rebounders during his career with the Blue Devils, earning All-Cape Atlantic League honors. In 2005, Staiger helped Hammonton post its first .500 season in five decades, as the Blue Devils earned a berth in the South Jersey playoffs.


He went on to attend William Paterson University and currently teaches at Atlantic County Institute of Technology.


The Gazette caught up with Staiger recently and asked him a few questions.


Talk a little about what you’ve done since leaving high school.


After graduating high school I went to college and played basketball for two years while pursuing my teaching degree. I graduated from William Paterson University with a Health & Physical Education degree. I have been teaching physical education and coaching basketball for the past 10 years. My brother Brent and I founded Atlantic Coast Basketball L.L.C. in which we run AAU basketball tournaments and basketball camps throughout South Jersey. The Hammonton Bulldogs also brought us in for the past two years to coach the youth of our town during the Saturday morning clinics. I currently live in Hammonton with my wife and two daughters.


What has been your favorite professional experience?


My favorite professional experience that I will cherish is when I was the varsity assistant basketball coach at The Patrick School (St. Patrick’s High School) in Elizabeth, N.J. Being a part of Chris Chavannes’ coaching staff was an absolute game changer and exposed me to another aspect of high school basketball. Every day I was coaching players and against players who were being actively recruited by all levels of division one. After practices, I would go scout and come up with strategies/game plans for our upcoming opponents. The strategy and game plan I remember fondly is against the 2012-2013 St. Joseph H.S. (Metuchen) team. This team had Karl Anthony-Towns (Kentucky/Minnesota Timberwolves), Wade Baldwin (Vanderbilt/Memphis Grizzles)and Marques Townes (FDU/Chicago-Loyola). I remember giving Chris Chavannes the scouting report and breaking down every player on their roster and their tendencies except for Karl Anthony-Towns. All I put next to his name, “future top three NBA draft pick” and I was wrong, he was the number one overall pick in the 2015 draft.


Do you stay in touch with any of your former high school teammates or coaches?


My one teammate Jon Bermudez and I are still really close friends as we were in high school. He was one of my groomsman in my wedding and our families have become close over the years. I am still in contact with my former basketball coaches Joe Martino and Kevin Fricke. We talk about the state of basketball in the town of Hammonton and occasionally talk about the good old days of when I played in high school. I have become involved with the Hammonton Bulldogs Saturday clinics because of them.


What’s the one thing you miss most about playing in high school?


The one thing that I miss the most about playing in high school was game day. I miss the ritual and the excitement that game day brought.


What do you miss most about high school academically or socially?


What I miss the most about Hammonton High School are the teachers. Our school had the best faculty and staff.


What is your favorite memory of playing in high school, either in a game, practice, traveling or socially?


My favorite memory of playing in high school was stepping on the varsity court as a freshman for the first time.


Is there something any of your high school coaches said to your while you were playing that sticks with you today?


Before a big game, I remember Coach Martino telling me, “You and Big Don (my dad) shoot 250 shots every night after practice, let the ball fly tonight.”


What advice would you give to a high school athlete playing today?


Ask yourself after every game, practice or training session; “Did I get better today?” This has nothing to do with your coach or how the practice was run. This is an honest daily self-assessment and the only person who really knows that answer is you.