Senior forward Peter Ryckbocsh’s final season as a Blue Demon was cut before it even started.
He broke his kneecap over the summer and looked like he would be out until conference play. Then, a few months later, he broke the kneecap again because it had not healed correctly the first time. He was out for the season, a feeling all too familiar to him. He had been forced to sit the 2014-15 season with a right knee injury and redshirted. The previous experience would not suck any of the pain from losing his final year.
“When I tore my ACL it’s kind of a different process,” Ryckbosch said. “The rehab is a little different, the steps and the hurdles are different. Not totally different, but a little different. I wouldn’t say it made it easier. I know what to expect more. I know what I have to do and look for. I know what to look forward to in rehab and that sort of thing, but I wouldn’t say it’s made it easier. It’s probably made it harder honestly because I have to deal with and cope with multiple injuries.”
Nevertheless, he has attacked the rehab process with the same ferocity that got him on to the team as a non-scholarship player in 2012. Head coach Dave Leitao, while not the head coach that originally put him on the team, has certainly taken notice of the mentality that has allowed Ryckbosch to get where he is today.
“I think everything he does in his life he does full boar,” Leitao said. “It makes him a great student. It’s allowed him to come to school here without having a scholarship and work his way onto the court and play meaningful minutes,” Leitao said. “And now with the injury, having to go through it for a second time, he doesn’t spend any time with sorrow or self-pity. He just attacks it the way he would his school work or basketball.”
When it comes to how he is able to keep his motor running high, Ryckbosch says he just needs to look towards himself.
“I’d say I’m a pretty self-motivated person,” Rychbosch said. “Sometimes I’d wright to myself to remind myself of things if I don’t feel like working hard that day or I don’t feel like working out much, reminding myself of when I did want to work out, you gotta keep working.”
Since he is not able to help on the court, Rychbosch certainly has not let the season going to waste. He has used this time to expand his role as a vocal leader in the locker room, especially with the younger players.
“I try to always help our younger bug guys. You know, give them tips here and there whenever I could, things that I’ve learned just from experience and having gone though it a lot of times before,” Ryckbocsh said. “And just energy and positivity whenever I could.”
Helping out the young players have not just helped them out, but has helped out the coach.
“It’s a very awkward position to be in when you’re, especially when you’re a senior, and your injured and you can’t contribute the way you always have your whole life” Leitao said. “So being able to shift your focus to verbal communication is not easy, but he’s done a really good job at counseling the young guys and giving them pointers that they can use that they may not know because they are young and still growing. “It’s like having another voice or coach and sometimes they listen to him a little bit more because he is a peer and he’s living it in real time, so it’s really helped a lot and it just speaks to his character.”
While DePaul’s season still is going on with the Big East tournament this week, Ryckbosch’s future is almost here. He’ll graduate after Winter Quarter, then will join DePaul’s nursing program in the spring.