By: Dylan Tehada
Join us in welcoming new player development coach, Ryan Kalugdan. Kalugdan brings a great deal of expertise and basketball experience from his time playing in high school and scout player roles on the Columbia Women’s Basketball team and the New York Liberty. He is looking forward to inspiring the next generation of Bay Area hoopers and sharing his knowledge of the game.
Kalugdan, 26, was born and raised in Hayward, California. He attended and recently graduated from Columbia University and now returns to the Bay Area to share his love for basketball to the UPB community. Off the court, Kalugdan loves to travel, hike, and dance in the salsa and bachata styles during his free time.
Kalugdan developed a strong passion for the game of basketball in middle school. He attended San Mateo High School, where he played basketball all four years and grew more and more passionate about hooping. Growing up in the Bay Area, Kalugdan looked up to Stephen Curry and sought to emulate how he found joy in hooping and spread that joy to others.
After graduating high school, Kalugdan enlisted in the military. During his time in the military, he noticed how passionate he was for basketball because even though he was not playing on a competitive team anymore he would still take advantage of any opportunity to play and improve his skill set.
When his time with the military came to an end, he spent a lot of time playing pick up games and training in hopes of potentially playing competitive basketball again. He then transferred to Columbia University where he became a scout player for the women’s team and witnessed the team win its first Ivy League regular season championship and make a Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Soon after his time at Columbia, he interned with NBA trainer Chris Brickley in New York and got to train with players such as Paolo Banchero, Cole Anthony, and NFL star Stefon Diggs. After his stint with Brickley, Kalugdan tried out for the New York Liberty practice squad and earned a position with the team where he got to play against WNBA stars Breanna Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu.
During his time as a scout player for Columbia University’s women’s team and for the New York Liberty, Kalugdan learned a great deal about how both professional and collegiate organizations are run and gained insight as to how hard these athletes work. He is particularly encouraged by the growth of women’s involvement in basketball and predicts a huge surge in the popularity of women’s hoops. As a practice player for the Liberty, he saw firsthand the hard work and dedication that these female athletes put into their craft and speaks highly of all the players he went against in practice and the impact they made on and off the court.
“ [The Liberty are] professional top to bottom in terms of their roster, great players all around and they're very professional. They don't take off days, they're always working on their skill sets every day,” Kalugdan said. “They also try to build a community and build up women's basketball from a young age all the way to college.”
After an eventful few years in New York, Kalugdan returned home to the Bay Area and is excited to join the UPB community. He learned about UPB while he was in New York and after talking with Coach Packie Turner, accepted a position as a player development coach and is returning back home. He is excited to meet the UPB community and admires how Coach Packie Turner shares his expertise about the game of basketball to hoopers of all ages and skill levels whether they be completely new to the game or playing in the NBA. Kalugdan is especially looking forward to developing basketball talent in the Bay Area and has a special place in his heart for Bay Area sports.
“I've always admired Bay Area sports. We have a different kind of style here in the Bay Area with how we play, so I like seeing players come out of the Bay Area and go on to do amazing things,” Kalugdan said.
Kalugdan seeks to use his experience to teach and inspire the next generation of Bay Area hoopers, and we are excited to see the impact he makes at the facility. He hopes to instill a hard work ethic into the athletes he coaches, as he says the key to reaching one’s full potential is repetition and practice.
“For any young kid out there who's just trying to make it in basketball, as long as you're consistent, put in the effort, show up everyday, and get at least 1% better each day, added up over a few years you're going to see a difference in your game,” Kalugdan said.
Julius Randle has been the epitome of constant growth and improvement season after season since his debut in 2014. After an impressive 2022-2023 season with the Knicks averaging 25.1 points per game on 46% shooting, Randle seeks to continue building on last season’s success and contributing to a winning franchise. Although the start of the Knicks’ season has not gone exactly to plan, Randle has showcased his veteran poise and innate ability to continue elevating his game as the long NBA season treads on.