Ryley Beaumont grew up in Millersville, participating in football, lacrosse and basketball. But when he was young he broke his hand playing football — just before the start of basketball season with a Severna Park youth program.
"That ruined his basketball season," said his father, Russ, who played hoops at Southern High in Baltimore and has taught at Marley Middle School in Glen Burnie for nearly 30 years.
As a boy, Beaumont was able to shoot baskets in Anne Arundel gyms since his father could usually get a key, thanks to his teaching job.
"He did push-ups. We called it boot camp," said his father. "He jumped rope and shot the ball. He worked really hard."
The hard work took on new focus after that broken hand. Beaumont gave up on football and Istuck with basketball, becoming a standout performer in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association under coach Pat Clatchey at Mount St. Joseph High School near Catonsville.
While former prep teammates Eric Atkins and Kam Williams are playing big-time college hoops at Notre Dame and Ohio State, respectively, Beaumont is winding up his own notable four-year college career in relative obscurity in the Southern Conference in a small North Carolina town that bears his school's name.
Beaumont is a 6-foot-7 senior forward for Elon, which last year clinched the Southern Conference North Division title when he hit a last-second shot to beat Samford.
This season Beaumont, who attended Severna Park Middle School, has opened the season starting 21 games; this week he was fourth on the team in scoring at 10.1 points per game and tied for second with 5.1 rebounds. Elon was 10-11 overall and 3-3 in the Southern Conference before a home game with Western Carolina last Thursday.
He was part of the first recruiting class for Matt Matheny, who was named Elon's coach in 2009.
"He has had what I would call a fantastic basketball career at Elon," Matheny said. "He has solidified this program in many ways with his grit, toughness and work ethic."
"I am a hustle-and-rebound and intense kind of guy. I have found more of an [offensive game] as my career has gone on," said Beaumont, who added that he relishes his role as "one of the main leaders on the team.
He's also been durable. Beaumont made 10 starts as a freshman, started all 31 games as a sophomore and started all 31 last season, when he averaged 11.8 points per game.
"I like it down South. It is a good school, and it is beautiful, warm and friendly," said Beaumont, who is scheduled to graduate in May as an information science major.
He comes from an athletic family. His sister, Rachel, played lacrosse at Severna Park High and in college at Presbyterian in South Carolina.
His parents have headed South the past four years to see many of his games, home and away. It's difficult for Russ Beaumont to get away during the week because of his teaching schedule. Carla, his mother, is a manager for a telecommunications company in Columbia and is able to make more of his games.
Elon ends regular-season play March 1 against league opponent Davidson, then will take part in the Southern Conference tournament. But Beaumont hopes that won't be the end of his basketball career — he hopes to play pro ball overseas.
"He has a good chance of doing that," said his father. "He has earned it."
Beaumont learned about pro hoops in Europe from Chris Long, an Elon graduate who is now the director of basketball operations for the university. Long played hoops in Romania and Poland before he joined the coaching staff at Elon.
Beaumont has also spoken about basketball in Europe with Matt Rum, who played at Loyola Blakefield and at the College of William & Mary before a brief stint in Greece last year.
Before his sophomore year at Elon, Beaumont and his teammates spent 11 days in Germany, Austria and Italy and played several games against European teams. "It definitely sparked an interest," he said.
Matheny said it's not a stretch that Beaumont could excel in the European game. He's has been overshadowed at times by other scorers on the team, but Beaumont "has tremendous talent," he said. "He has a future in pro basketball."