Former Fresno State and San Joaquin Delta College player Ajay
Riding will begin his sixth season as assistant men’s
basketball coach at Sacramento State in 2014-15. His duties with
the Hornets include assisting with recruiting, serving as the
team’s academic coordinator, team travel, working with the
post players, player development and scouting.
During Riding’s five years on the staff, Sacramento State has increased its conference win total each season, culminating in a 2013-14 campaign in which the team won its most conference games (10) since joining the Big Sky Conference in 1996-97, clinched a conference tournament berth for the first time since 2006, won its most home games (11-3 record) since 1989, set the Div. I era record (1991-pres.) with a .460 field goal percentage and won seven consecutive home games which matched a Div. I-era record.
The season came to a close in heartbreaking fashion as the Hornets fell in the first round of the conference tournament to North Dakota, 79-76, in Ogden, Utah. However, Sacramento State will return all five starters in 2014-15, including arguably the best back court in the conference in guards Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity. McKinney was a unanimous first team all-Big Sky selection and became the first Hornet during the Div. I era to garner all-region accolades.
Off the court, the Hornets have excelled in the classroom during Riding’s tenure. In fact, the men’s basketball team posted a 3.092 grade point average during the 2014 spring semester, believed to be the best semester mark in school history. In addition, the team finished the 2013-14 academic year with a 3.043 gpa, also the best mark in program history.
Moreover, the Hornets have been Academic Progress Rate (APR) compliant every year of Riding’s five-year tenure, including a 981 score in 2009-10, the second highest in program history.
Of the 18 Sacramento State players that have expired their eligibility during Riding’s tenure, 13 have graduated and three more will graduate in the fall of 2014.
The 2012-13 squad posted 14 victories, the most for the program in seven years. The team’s eight conference wins tied for the most since the program joined the Big Sky prior to that mark being broken last year. The Hornets allowed opponents just 65.7 points per game, the best mark in over 40 years. In addition, Sacramento State, which never lost more than two games in a row at any point during the season, turned the ball over just 11.2 times per game, the 28th best mark in the nation and best mark in school history.
In 2011-12, the Hornets went 5-3 during the second half of Big Sky play, set the then Div. I-era record for highest field goal percentage (.451), and swept a Big Sky road trip for the first time since 2006. Also, Garrity became just the third Sacramento State player in school history to earn Big Sky Freshman of the Year honors.
A native of Davis, Calif., Riding spent two years (2007-09) working with the men’s basketball coaching staff at Fresno State as a volunteer assistant.
A graduate of Fresno State in 2007 with a degree in mass communications and journalism, Riding played a combined 47 games for the Bulldogs in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He was both a Western Athletic Conference and Fresno State scholar-athlete award winner, and helped the Bulldogs to a 37-23 combined record during his two seasons with the team as a student-athlete. That included a 22-10 overall record and a National Invitational Tournament appearance during his senior season.
No stranger to Katz’s coaching philosophy, Riding spent two years playing for Katz at Delta College in 2003-04 and 2004-05. During those two seasons, Riding helped the Mustangs to a pair of conference championships and a 52-8 combined record. The 2004-05 squad finished with a program-best 30-2 record and reached the Final Four of the state tournament.
Prior to playing at Delta College, Riding prepped at Davis High School where he was an all-conference selection.