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Walk-on Patrick Ramsey returns home with Marist hoop team to open MAAC tournament

  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO<br/>Patrick Ramsey, right, is shown playing for the Easthampton boys basketball team in this 2009 photo. Ramsey is a walk-on for Marist College, which opens the MAAC tournament against Siena Friday at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

Patrick Ramsey was watching “The Hangover Part 2” Thursday, enjoying a bus trip outside of Albany, N.Y.

The destination — Springfield.

Ramsey and the Marist College men’s basketball team will open the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament tonight.

Marist is the No. 8 seed and will face No. 9 Siena at 7:30 p.m. at the MassMutual Center.

It’s the closest Ramsey will play to his Easthampton home since becoming a Division I basketball player.

“We’re ready to play” Friday, Ramsey said. “It’s exciting for me.”

The likelihood of Ramsey seeing the floor is slim. The 6-foot-4 swingman has appeared in five games and played a total of 14 minutes for the Red Fox (10-20).

“It’s been a great experience,” the junior walk-on said. “I’ve been able to travel. We went to the Old Spice Classic in Orlando (Fla.) at Walt Disney World. It was a great experience. It’s a big difference going from Division III to Division I. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”

After graduating from Easthampton High School, Ramsey played two seasons at Emmanuel College in Boston. As a sophomore, Ramsey averaged 8.4 minutes per game and 3.1 points. He then transferred to Marist and sat out last season.

“I decided to switch to Marist because of its sports communication program,” Ramsey said. “I entered Emmanuel with an undecided major. After a (couple) years I came across the sports communication program at Marist and it was something I wanted to pursue. I realized they were Division I so I prepared myself and set the goal of making the team as a walk-on. It eventually paid off.”

The move to Division I was different on and off the court.

“It’s a lot more time-consuming. The shoot-arounds, the practices, everything. It’s more of a time commitment,” Ramsey said. “Travel as well. We have to travel more compared to Division III. A lot of the games at Emmanuel were 30 minutes away. Every game in our conference is a good distance away.”

As for the ability on the court, Ramsey said he’s “seen some players at the Division III that can make the skip to Division I.”

For Ramsey, though, it’s been an adjustment.

“I was getting good minutes in high school and in Division III,” Ramsey said. “I had to make the sacrifice. It was a humbling experience. It took me a couple weeks to get used to it but I’m accustomed to it right now.”

Ramsey saw his first action against Clemson in the Old Spice Classic. He played one minute and did not attempt a shot in the 59-44 loss on Nov. 25.

He then played eight minutes in the next game, a 91-57 loss at Army on Dec. 4. He missed his only shot and grabbed two rebounds.

On Dec. 16 against Maine, Ramsey buried a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of a 94-69 win in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He also had a steal.

“When I first got on the court I was nervous because it was the first time I stepped on the home court,” Ramsey said. “There was about a minute and 30 seconds left when I got in and about 30 left when I shot. When I got the ball I had some space and I decided to let it go. When it went in it was a great feeling.”

Ramsey, who will graduate in May, has one year left of eligibility. He said he is considering entering a master’s program for public administration at Marist, or possible a graduate program at another school.

Marist’s first round game is the opener of the men’s tournament. No. 7 Fairfield and No. 10 Saint Peter’s play at 9:30 p.m. The women’s tournament started Thursday.

Monday’s MAAC championship men’s final will air on ESPN2 at 9 p.m.

Mike Moran can be reached at mmoran@gazettenet.com. Follow on Twitter @mikemoranDHG.

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