Bearcats’ Bond renews Tech ties during New Year’s Day game

By T. Scott Boatright

Ruston High School boys head hoops coach Ryan Bond spent Christmas with the two things most important to him on his mind — his family and Bearcats basketball.

But while celebrating the holidays with wife Manon, son Fynn and daughter Harper, Bond also got the chance to relive some college memories during his time as a Dunkin’ Dog as he rang in the new year by attending Saturday’s 74-73 home win over Western Kentucky by Louisiana Tech, who Bond starred for in the early 1990s.

“I don’t get a chance to go to many Tech games with the Ruston basketball season running at the same time,” Bond said. “But it worked out this time and it was great because I had a chance to catch up with (Western Kentucky assistant coach) Marcus Grant. We were teammates in 2000 and won a championship in Finland playing for Lahti.”

A 1992 graduate of Weston High School, where he was a four-year letterman in basketball. Bond was selected all-district three years and All-State two years, averaging 26 points and 14 rebounds a game in his senior year before moving on to play at Louisiana Tech.

Bond lettered four years at Tech, amassing 1,014 points and hauling in 553 rebounds. He was selected on the 30-player All-Time Tech Team out of a pool of more than 500 players.

After his career at Tech, Bond played professionally for 10 years with seven different teams and was selected on the All-Star Team. He played for Kosovo, Croatia, Finland and Germany in the European Leagues.

Bond said he enjoyed being at Saturday’s game because it included some old but familiar faces, even if one of those was his own.

“One guy came up to me and started talking to me and said he recognized me,” Bond said. “He said, ‘Man you look old.’ I guess I do look older than I did running around that court as a young Bulldog. But it was a lot of fun being at the game.

“It’s just neat to see the support the Tech guys get. We weren’t all that good when I was here and it’s a lot different atmosphere than my playing days. Seeing familiar faces is neat. I ran into Mary Kay Hungate (Tech deputy athletics director) after the game. Seeing (Jimmy) Washington still on the PA calling games is great. It was just cool to see everybody.”

Bond said it’s still too early to tell if his young children will share his love of hoops in the future.

“It’s always good to spend time with them, but to be honest, they’re really not basketball fanatics or anything like that at this point,” Bond said. “My son is in fifth grade and plays for the Choudrant Elementary team. He needs some work, but he’s going to be tall like me, so I think eventually we’ll pick it up. We’ll see.

“My daughter has a little more fight in her. She’ll tell you how she feels. I’d love to see them both play, but if they both choose not to play sports, that’s their decision to make and it’s going to be OK with me.”

After his pro playing career ended, Bond came home to Weston, where he had grown up, to serve as head coach of the Wolves’ boys basketball team. Over the course of 10 seasons Bond guided the Wolves to a record of 249-119, including seven district championships and the teams’ first ever boys state tournament berth.

In April of 2019 Bond returned to Ruston to take over as head coach of the Bearcats’ boys basketball team.

His Bearcats stand at 11-3 heading into the new year. Ruston will next play host to Richwood tonight at the RHS Boys Gym.

“We lost some games right before Christmas because I was sick,” Bond said. “I hate that we couldn’t play in our tournament. The Gibsland-Coleman game might be made up. I hope it is. But we were in a good rhythm before that happened. Our depth last week was different, because we had some guys out of town and some guys sick. We had three guys who normally play a lot of us out, and that changed our depth chart.

“But Joran Parker really stepped up and has been playing hard recently and helped fill some of that void. He started against Carroll, scored 14 points, played 32 minutes and played tremendous defense. We’re the kind of team that needs different guys with different skill sets to step up for us based on the type of team we’re playing, and that’s happened more often for us than not so far this season. We just have to focus on continuing to play hard and getting better as a team.”

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