Throughout their childhoods Chase Ridenour and Myles Rasnick always bonded over basketball, and they almost always were on the same team.
That changed in 2018 once they departed high school as graduates of Knoxville Webb, but two years later they plan to be together again.
Maryville College hopes to reap the rewards.
As transfers from Division I programs, Ridenour and Rasnick highlight Maryville’s 11-player recruiting class announced Friday by coach Raul Placeres.
The class includes a pair of local kids with 2019 William Blount graduate Grant Rearden, who is transferring from Tennessee Wesleyan, and 2020 King’s Academy graduate Zack Tilley.
Ridenour and Rasnick are the only former teammates in the class, and if they bring the same level of success they had in high school, Maryville will be back in the NCAA Tournament quickly. When they were seniors, Webb reached the Division II-A state championship game and lost to Knoxville Grace Christian by two points.
“It’s a really big deal (to be together again) and something I am really excited for,” Ridenour said. “We’ve been best friends since we were little. We talk every day no matter what. We’re both excited for the program at Maryville. We feel like we can help and get some momentum going.”
Ridenour, who is Webb’s all-time leading scorer with more than 2,000 career points and was named a finalist for Mr. Basketball his senior season, signed with Tennessee Tech in high school. He redshirted during his first season and played 35 minutes over 13 games in his second season.
Placeres said he is most impressed with the combo guard’s toughness and his ability to score from all three levels.
Rasnick has taken a more circuitous route to Maryville. He signed with East Tennessee State in high school and spent one season there. Rasnick said that although he was treated well by those in the Buccaneers’ program, he didn’t feel like it was the right fit for him. Eventually, he even decided he was done playing basketball. He left ETSU and enrolled at Tennessee for the 2019-20 school year. The only basketball he played was recreational, and ultimately, that was not enough.
“It’s definitely crazy going from playing basketball all my life to not playing at all,” Rasnick said. “I still played in intramurals and with old teammates, but I wasn’t actually on a team. It felt different and it showed me how much I love the game and how much I wanted to play. It showed me how much I missed it.”
Rasnick attended games at Webb during his time back in Knoxville and several times bumped into Placeres, who recruits the area hard and is friends with Webb head coach Ricky Norris. When Placeres discovered Rasnick wanted to come back to college basketball, he jumped at the opportunity to offer him a spot on the team.
“(Rasnick and Ridenour) wanted to try the D1 route, and it just wasn’t what they really were looking for,” Placeres said. “They want to be true contributors to a program and they weren’t seeing that at their previous schools.”
Both players fit the mold of the type of player Placeres focused on during this recruiting cycle — high quality shooters. Last season, the Scots used an unusually high number of underclassmen and were strongest in the front court.
They picked up steam as the season went on, but couldn’t get past their weakness of outside shooting.
Another player in this class that will be a big contributor in that area is Jekobe Coleman from Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia. Coleman is a 6-foot-2 wing who earned all-state honors and led the team to a Class 5A state runner-up finish.
“Jekobe is a perfect fit for Maryville College,” Placeres said. “You can expect Jekobe’s understanding of the game to be college ready. He has a great stroke from the perimeter, and he knows how to attack the basket off the dribble.
“Jekobe also has what we call ‘the dog’ in him. He’s a fierce competitor who loves to take the big shot.”