Ryan's minor archbishop, Thomas Sorber, does not recall seeing a ladder or stepladder in his childhood home in Trenton.
Changing light bulbs or opening cabinets was not a problem for this family. The air up there was seldom unfamiliar.
"Anything my mother needed," Sorber said, smiling, "she could ask me or my brother."
By the eighth grade, Sorber, now a 6-foot center and one of the most sought-after basketball recruits in the country, was already 6-5.
Back then, his older brother Peter, now graduating 6-9 at Lincoln University, was still the best. Her older sister, Regina, who is 6-3 years old and went to Alabama A&M, teased them both for years.
Last year, however, there was a change at the top. And it did not go unnoticed.
"It was amazing," Peter said in a phone interview. "I didn't want to admit it at first. I was like, 'Nah, this guy isn't taller than me yet.' Then he came up to me and tried to look at me. I'm like, 'Bro, if you keep this up, I'm going to punch you in the face.' the stomach.' Leave me alone. stay behind "It's rare to have someone in your house taller than you now that you've always been the tallest person in the family.
On the field, though, it's not just Sorber's height that college coaches complain about. His skill, footwork and instincts, along with a body that may not be ready yet, make him a recruiting gem.
"Everybody thinks his body can make a big deal out of it," said Nate Hodge, Sorber's AAU coach on Team Final. "And when you combine your size, your skills and your sense of play and then you're in the best shape you've ever been, you can have something really special."
tears on your toes
Tenneh Sorber always knew there was something about her youngest son. After all, she was born on Christmas day.
"Thomas is a special guy," Ryan said after St. Frances (Md.) last week. "He is my Messiah, my Jesus, my everything."
He came to the United States in 1998 while his motherLiberia was involved in a civil war..
When Thomas was 5 years old, Tenneh took his two sons to a basketball school in the Northeast, not far from Ryan.
"In the summer I would bring him to play with the older children and his brother and he would always cry," she said with a laugh. "But now, because of the work that he's done, he's getting results."
These days, the only tears that will be shed may be those of the college coaches who lost the agile and highly-skilled 16-year-old.
Last week, Miami offered him a scholarship. Virginia offered in November. Bids from Seton Hall and St. John's came in October. Penn State and Syracuse offered in August. Others will surely follow.
"Everyone loves the feel of the game," said Hodge, now in his eighth season with Team Final. "That's what stands out the most, his skill and sense of play."
Earlier this month, against attending the Patrick School [N.J.], Sipping atthree game pointsjust before time runs out. He finished with 27 points, 17 rebounds and eight blocks.
Last week he scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked six shots and added three assists in Ryan's 77-69 win over St. Louis. french academy.
Sorber, who joined Ryan from Trenton Catholic last year, attributes his coordination and footwork to playing soccer as a child.
His father, Peter Sr., who died of colon cancer in 2013, was a talented 6-5 soccer player. He is also known in the Trenton African community for helping others improve their lives, his son said, particularly those seeking life after incarceration.
Sorber's initial insight into basketball, he said, came from watching YouTube videos of former NBA star Dwyane Wade. Growing up, she modeled his game on great men like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.
"Most kids think big guys are just people who get under the rims and get rebounds," Sorber said, "but when you know you can go out there and shoot a 3-pointer like Jokic or Embiid can get the ball up, it's not just 'Oh, you're supposed to be [under the basket]. They can be anywhere on the field.
from big to big
Peter Sorber knew that his little brother would be good when he grew up and started to lose weight.
Peter, 21, graduated from Trenton Catholic High School in 2019. He first attended Morgan State where he played as a freshman and sophomore.
"Every time I came home, it seemed like I had grown an inch or two," Peter said. "As he grew, the baby fat disappeared. Thomas was big once; he used to be very big.
A rigorous training program with Team Final, which was also Peter's AAU team, helped Sorber lose weight. Advice from her brother and sister helped hone her skills.
"We critique every game, even if we're not there," says Regina, 34. "No matter what suggestions we make to him, he accepts them."
Regina, who played basketball at Trenton High, where she graduated in 2005, was in Ryan's home win over St. Louis. French.
When her "little" brother temporarily fell after stepping on an opponent's foot, she visited him on the baseline while the coaches were examining him.
"He's the baby," she said, laughing. "I'm the oldest. I've always been the tallest and now my younger brothers are taller than me, he's crazy."
The brother's criticisms mainly relate to the weight room, losing weight and giving it all he's done, both said.
Peter adds lessons on dual teams: when they come, how to deal with them, and how not to let them cause frustration.
"I'm so happy for him," Peter said. "I just want to see it through to the end."
Then he added:„I'm glad you made it to the top. It's just better for him. People in the NBA are looking for big guys who can do anything. It can be like a shorter version of Jokic."
That is, when Sorber finishes sprouting, which Hodge doesn't suspect.
"He could still grow an inch or two," said Hodge, who believes passing ability is one of Sorber's best qualities. "It doesn't look like he's done. You look at his face and he still looks like a baby."
Just don't let the smooth face fool you. Sorber also has some aggressiveness in his game. He doesn't shy away from contact, he likes to get the crowd involved and caninteractwith employees once or twice.
Off the court, however, Ryan's coach, Joe Zeglinski, said Sorber's teammates and the school as a whole were quick to adopt him.
"Very respectful guy," Zeglinski said. "He's the kind of kid you like to coach because you can coach him a lot. It starts with how selfless he is and how much his teammates enjoy playing with him. Even the whole school. They love the guy for the way he is out of court".
Outside of the game, he is still his mother's "baby". Tenneh said she told all of her children that she would pay for high school, but college was up to them.
"I was very honest with them," she said. "I'm the only father. His father died. I told them I can't do everything. I'm doing my best."
When asked what it was like raising three college-bound children, Tenneh told Gott. His youngest son did not know how to express his appreciation for his mother. However, Sorber said that she was the motivation for it.
Peter Sorber also paid homage to the sky, but made an important stop along the way.
"[Our mother] was going to nursing school and working at the same time when my father died," Peter said. "It was hard for her. We all used that as motivation to keep going and take basketball seriously. So we give glory to God because we wouldn't even be here if God hadn't made them so strong."