Matt Ryan talks about how he has maintained confidence in himself

Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Ryan hit the shot of his life on Wednesday when he connected on a contested 3-pointer from the corner to force overtime in a game it looked like they were going to lose.

Instead, they powered through the extra period and outlasted the New Orleans Pelicans, 120-117.

Ryan has had to travel quite the path to get to this point.

After playing for three different colleges, no one took him in the 2020 NBA Draft. He worked as a DoorDash driver and at a cemetery in the New York City area before the Cleveland Cavaliers added him to their summer league roster that year.

He played in just one game for five minutes last season before the Lakers invited him to training camp in September.

Ryan says that this odyssey did nothing to dent his confidence.

Via Lakers Nation:

“My confidence when it comes to shooting is unwavering,” Ryan said. “I wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case after the past year and a half, two years I’ve had. I wouldn’t be able to play at this level if I didn’t think I could. I wasn’t making a lot of shots all game, I had I think three or four in-and-outs and I’m just thankful Coach gave me another opportunity to hit a 3 at the end to send it to OT.”

The forward had to put in lots of time by himself working on his game, and he says he didn’t only spend that time working on his jumper.

Via The Athletic:

“When I was home alone, and I was in a gym alone, just shooting for hours and hours a day, like, I was convincing myself that I was the best shooter in the world,” Ryan said. “Now I come here, and I’m playing with the best player in the world.”

Darvin Ham maintained his confidence in Ryan

Statistically, Ryan didn’t shoot well on Wednesday, as he finished 4-of-11 overall and 3-of-9 from 3-point range.

But head coach Darvin Ham still trusted him to take such a big shot in such a needy situation.

“That was a total gut feeling,” Ham said of putting Ryan back in the game for the shot that forced overtime. “Because even as well as he shoots the ball, his percentage I think ended up 33% tonight, but I don’t know. I’d be curious to see what they thought when they saw him in the game. But I trust the kid. I trust him. I trust all my players, especially putting him in the position to make a shot. You see Lonnie, he misses that shot before but he hits a huge 3 to get us going in the overtime. So he’s very much capable.

“But Matt, just to put him in that position, you learn a lot about yourself as a coach, trust him and tell the guy that’s throwing the ball in Austin that that’s where I want him to go with the ball. Circle AD, circle LeBron, or whatever, but it’s gonna be a quick little rip screen and I want you to throw it towards the sideline. And it worked. It was fabulously executed and Matt had the courage to line it up and knock it down. Total team effort. I can draw up the greatest play in the world but if the guys don’t execute, AD doesn’t set that brush screen or Austin doesn’t give it a real chance to connect on the pass and Matt doesn’t check to see if his feet are right to be ready to let it fly, it doesn’t matter. So it was a total group effort.”

It’s important for young, developing players like Ryan to have the confidence of their head coach, and perhaps the shot he made on Wednesday will serve as a springboard for greater success the rest of this season.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire