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July 9, 2011DUNCANVILLE, Texas - On a team loaded with big-name players, Chad Rykhoek is something of an enigma for Family First, the summer select teams that features several members from the Arlington Grace Prep basketball team.
Don't equate "enigma," however, with him being of lesser talent. Consider Rykhoek (pronounced RY-cook) as the talented player no one has heard of. Part of that comes from the fact that he plays for Fort Worth Christian. Also, consider the fact that he plays with one of the top-ranked 2012 players in the nation in Isaiah Austin and the one of the top-ranked 2014 players in Emmanuel Mudiay, both of whom are Grace Prep players.
Rykhoek knows his role, and his role is big for Family First -- almost as big as his 6-foot-11, 215-pound frame. Most importantly, even if some spectators don't know about him, most college scouts do. He further increased his stock with solid performances at the 23rd annual Under Armour Great American Shoot-Out this weekend.
TexasHoops.com Senior Writer Damon Sayles had a chance to sit down with Rykhoek following Family First's pool-play game Saturday against the Colorado Chaos 17 Elite.
2 MINUTES WITH CHAD RYKHOEK
What's it like being the Fort Worth Christian kid on the Grace Prep summer team?
"It's been a good experience. I know I'm going to get better by playing with the best players. I've got good teammates, and I'm willing to learn and grow. I feel like I'm always getting better. It's been a lot of fun."
What's the best thing about playing with them?
"Everybody is always encouraging. If I have a bad game, someone is there to just say, 'You'll get them next time.' It gives me a lot of confidence to go out and play hard the next game."
Why do you think so many people slept on what you can do?
"Last year was my first year to play AAU. Plus, I go to a small Christian school. I think that has a lot to do with it."
What's the one thing about the summer that you keep telling yourself?
"Enjoy it as much as I can."
You're definitely a player to watch in the eyes of college scouts. Who all has contacted you?
"Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Stanford and Texas Tech are the big names. I'm just letting the summer go and seeing all of my options."
Last question: How many people butcher your last name?
"Pretty much everybody. Nobody gets it right the first time."