Don’t leave this guy open

GVL / Hannah Mico. Ryan Sabin attempting a basket through a strong defensive line from Wayne State.

GVL / Hannah Mico. Ryan Sabin attempting a basket through a strong defensive line from Wayne State.

Jay Bushen

Prepare to step aside, legendary Lakers of long range, this sharpshooter is making his way up the ranks in a hurry.

Grand Valley State University shooting guard Ryan Sabin is proving to be an elite scorer in his junior season, and is currently two 3-pointers away from cracking the top-10 list of career triples made in GVSU history with 129.

Head coach Ric Wesley said Sabin is the type of player to build a team around.

“As a coach, you wish you had a whole team of him,” Wesley said. “He’s a great kid, he’s a phenomenal student and he comes from a great family. He puts in the time in the offseason, he’s in the gym constantly, he takes great care of his body, he gets his rest, his diet is good — he gives himself every opportunity to be successful.”

Sabin is on pace to finish with the second-most 3-pointers in school history, and that pace appears to be trending upward.

His season-by-season totals have been increasing each year — from 33 to 44 to 52 — and he still has at least seven more games to play in 2014. He has made .389 percent of his career attempts from 3-point land.

“It’s not by accident — he’s the hardest worker on the team,” fifth-year senior point guard Rob Woodson said. “The biggest change this year is him being more aggressive. He could always score, but in the past years he wasn’t as aggressive.

“It’s his opportunity this year, and our team needs him to score. He’s our go-to guy and his confidence is sky high.”

Sabin has certainly been the go-to guy this season, and he’s also been the work horse. His 36.4 minutes per game rank as the second-most in the GLIAC.

The native of Byron Center, Mich. also leads the Lakers in points, field goals attempted, field goals made, 3-pointers attempted, 3-pointers made and free-throw percentage this season.

“Experience is big,” he said. “After the first year you know what to expect and you know how the conference is. The more you do things, the more comfortable you are. I don’t like to be complacent, I just want to be the best I can be as a player no matter what that is. I don’t believe I’ve hit that yet.”

He has been especially impressive in the team’s last five contests, and has averaged 20.6 points per game during that stretch. He’s also been on fire from beyond the arc by shooting 17-of-38 (.447 percent) in those games.

He has scored 20 or more points six times this season and has scored in double figures 16 times in 19 games.

Woodson, Sabin’s roommate, has witnessed the game-by-game dedication all season long.

“When I go in early to shoot, Sabin’s already there,” he said. “He comes in every day with the right mindset, and he’s just trying to get better and better. I could see him being one of the best in the conference.”

GVSU (14-5, 10-5 GLIAC) will need Sabin to be at his best down the stretch in order to compete for the top spot in the conference. If he continues to improve, he could end up near the top of the record books, as well.