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High upside for Lincoln Park senior Skovranko

| Saturday, March 15, 2014, 11:12 p.m.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Lincoln Park's Ryan Skovranko slam dunks against Forbes Road during their PIAA Class A boys basketball second-round playoff game at Hempfield High School on March 11, 2014, in Hempfield. Lincoln Park defeated Forbes Road, 81-28.

Maverick Rowan's 3s and Elijah Minnie's dunks have highlighted Lincoln Park's romp through the Class A playoffs. But don't overlook teammate Ryan Skovranko, insists Mike Bariski, Lincoln Park's athletic director and assistant coach.

“Of all of them, he's the best athlete,” said Bariski, who sees the 6-foot-7 senior compete in practice. “He jumps the best, he just needs some strength. If a college redshirts him for a year, he will be the beast of those guys.”

That's real praise considering the talent that's around Skovranko at the charter school in Midland. The Leopards' lineup includes Minnie (6-9), who just added Memphis to a scholarship list that also has Duquesne, Robert Morris, Tulane and Virginia Tech, and Rowan, a 6-7 sophomore guard who already has verbally committed to Pitt.

“Maverick is going to be Maverick, we know how good he's going to be,” Bariski said. “Ryan will be the total surprise.”

A Duquesne native who transferred from West Mifflin as a sophomore, Skovranko has averaged 15.6 points in Lincoln Park's three state playoff wins, with 20 against Forbes Road in a 81-28 second-round victory. He scored 14 points Friday night in a 99-64 quarterfinal victory over Vincentian Academy, when his three first-quarter 3-pointers were key.

Ranked No. 1 in the state, Lincoln Park (28-1) faces District 6 champion Bishop Carroll (28-0) on Tuesday night.

Skovranko holds Division I scholarship offers from Elon and Liberty, with Duquesne involved as well, Bariski said. DePaul and Virginia Tech extended offers, but neither school has contacted him recently.

“He jumps so well, and he shoots it so well,” Bariski said. “People ask about his toughness because he's so slight, but he doesn't lack toughness. He's a tough kid. He's just not very strong yet. When he gets some strength, that confidence to smack you in the mouth will be there.”

Once he adds some muscle, you'll see an even more aggressive player, Bariski predicted.

“He'll take a hit and give a hit back,” Bariski said, “but it's not much of a hit (now) because he's 6-7 and weighs 175 pounds. If he's 220, oh my. Some college will do that to him — make him 210 or 220 pounds of muscle — and he'll be unbelievable.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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