Ryan McMahon wasn't yet born in 1986 when college basketball put in the 3-point shot and high schools followed a year later.
In many ways it transformed the life that would eventually be his.
The 3-point field goal revolutionized the game of basketball and dramatically changed the type of players being recruited, especially in recent years.
Now good long-range shooters give so-called mid-majors like Butler and VCU a chance to beat big-time colleges. More importantly, those major programs that seem to collect all the big, athletic players now covet kids who can light the flames from beyond the arc.
The rule was made for McMahon, the Herald All-Area Boys Basketball Player of yhe Year. The 6-foot combo guard has increased his value because he is a court savvy kid who can do more than just burn the nets from 3-point land.
The Cardinal Mooney senior has been described as an old school player with new wave skills, a deadly marksman who is not afraid to shoot but knows when to launch it and can get shots for others.
It's why Louisville's famed basketball coach, Rick Pitino, fell in love with McMahon and signed him to a scholarship. After losing in the Elite Eight last season, Pitino lamented about the team's poor long-range shooting and said it was a priority to bring in good shooters.
How about this: McMahon mostly sat on the bench for his travel ball team last summer, but Pitino fought to get him.
Pitino knew the value of the 3-point shot early on when he took Providence to the Final Four in 1987 thanks to a sharpshooter named Billy Donovan, who later coached Florida to two national titles, thanks in large part to the 3-pointer.
McMahon averaged 26.4 points per game this past season, but he is unselfish. You can only say that about 3-point shooters. They are invaluable, but you have to know how to use them. Pitino certainly does.
McMahon has had to battle image problems ever since he started playing basketball in elementary school and last summer, when he didn't get much playing time on his travel ball team.
There is a saying only good shooters can become great shooters, and McMahon was certainly good. But he worked hard at it. He shot 51 percent on treys last season (127 of 249) after shooting 35.8 percent his previous two years.
"Me being a late bloomer was an obstacle; I really didn't start maturing until high school," McMahon said. "Middle school was very tough. In AAU ball, I was a bench guy who didn't play much. In high school, I went through the ups and downs because of my size. But all of that got me back in the gym and made me work harder."
For his success, Ryan credits his dad, Dave, who played high school ball in hoops hotbed Indiana and later at Valparaiso.
"He is my mentor, my father, he is everything" Ryan McMahon said. "He had the ball in my hands when I was very young. He has been there every step of the way through the ups and downs especially the downs; I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."
When Dave McMahon was coaching Ryan during his youth league days, he had a little apprehension knowing dads coaching their sons can encounter bumps in the road.
Dave is still is not sure how effective he was in his son's development. But Ryan has no doubt about what his dad has meant to his development.
"When I had a bad day, he was very supportive and a constructive critic, whether I thought it was at the time or not," Ryan says. "There were some silent rides home after games because he wanted what was best for me. Maybe I didn't put in enough effort or was doing stupid things. But he saw a lot of potential in me and wanted to squeeze out as much as possible. I am very thankful for that. As hard as it was at the time, it all paid off."
Dave McMahon said his son has an old-school work ethic because he often goes to the gym alone, works on his game and listens to all the coaches who have helped him through the years.
"It's a little harder coaching your son. I had to learn how to adapt and manage it and we let it evolve naturally," Dave says. "After a certain point I was done on his shot and shooting and every other aspect of his game came from other coaches. He worked his way up from the bottom of the totem pole."
As a sophomore, Ryan McMahon was sixth man for Cardinal Mooney, coming off the bench to provide long-range shooting and being part of a supporting cast for Antonio Blakeney. When Blakeney left, everyone's role on the team changed. McMahon added dimensions to his game, developed a bona fide jumper and averaged 16.2 points per game as a junior
"Ryan is really a kind of guy that what you see is what you get. He is genuine. There is no difference with him on or off the floor. He is an old school gym rat. He is insightful and a good conversationalist," Dave McMahon said.