BOZEMAN — A two-time all-state high school basketball player from Livingston, Montana State senior Ladan Ricketts took the long route to play Division I basketball. His first stop? Sheridan Junior College.
“Sheridan was a great place to not only build my personal offensive game, build my defense, but also it was a great recruiting opportunity," said Ricketts.
After two years at the JUCO level, he had offers from all over the country to play Division I basketball, but a chance to play for the Bobcats felt like home.
“Montana State came around, that was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up," Ricketts said. "Being from Montana and living 30 minutes away, it’s one of the schools that’s like a dream school.”
Growing up watching the Cat-Griz rivalry being the hot ticket in Bozeman, coming back and playing for a school near his hometown, it was all a dream come true.
“It’s something where you look back and you realize all these great memories you had playing in front of these fans, it’s really awesome to be able to represent Montana, especially being so close to home and having all these fans rally behind you as a Montana kid," said Ricketts.
But as Ricketts and the Cats were about to gear up for what they thought was a Big Sky Conference tournament run, the news of a cancellation came. His career was over.
“Obviously we were all pretty heartbroken," Ricketts recalled. "It was tough. We really wanted it, we thought we had more games ahead of us. It was definitely a tough moment for everybody.”
But his career was far from defined by its ending. Whether it was sharing a Senior Night moment with Harald Frey or just spending time at the beach with his teammates, Ricketts is thankful for the friendships he made along the way.
“Just little times like that. You just cherish those memories and those bonds you’ve made with all those guys,” he said.