Candles and photos from a vigil for Ryan Bost Submitted photo

Timeouts could become pretty hectic when the Evanston Township High School basketball teams were looking to stop teams making runs in 2018 and 2019. Players could get vocal and coaches would join in.

One player, though, Ryan Bost, “would sit there with a quiet presence,” recalled ETHS basketball coach Mike Ellis.

Sometimes he did not speak “but the times Ryan did speak out his comments got the full attention of the entire team,” Coach Ellis said.

“He just was the balance in those challenging moments.’’

Community members reacted with a mixture of shock and grief to the death of Mr. Bost, the victim of a shooting on Nov. 9.

A member of a family with a basketball rich heritage, Mr. Bost had followed his grandfather, Robert Bost Sr., and father, Robert Bost Jr. as members of ETHS teams that advanced downstate in the annual Illinois basketball tournament

Ryan Bost, along with teammates, Jaheim Holden and Lance Jones, played on teams that won 110 wins in their four years, the most in school history.

Mr. Bost was a player’s player – heady, unselfish, taking on the other team’s best man.

“It’s a shock throughout the community, especially throughout the athletic community,” said Robert Reece, a longtime friend of the family and coach for more than 40 years in the City’s highly-regarded developmental FAAM (Fellowship of Afro-American Men) program, “because we follow these kids all the way through middle school, high school and then after college.”

Mr. Bost was “what we call a local kid,” he said. “He was our kid, like a local village kid.”

The shooting occurred around 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 on the 6700 block of North Newgard Street, located several blocks east of Clark Street and Pratt Avenue, said Chicago police in their report.

According to police, the 20-year-old victim was sitting in the rear seat of a parked vehicle when a man approached on foot and fired shots after an exchange of words.

Mr. Bost suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was driven by friends to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police reported no one in custody following the shooting. They are continuing to investigate the incident.

Schawanda Bost, his mother, said her son, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, began playing basketball at an early age, while at Washington Elementary School.

She said he participated in the FAAM program. He was also as a member of an AAU traveling squad, starting in third grade, she said.

In his appreciation for the game, “he really didn’t really care about scoring all the time,” she said. “His main goal was defense and steals.”

Mr. Reece, a coach in the FAAM program for more than 40 years, and a teammate of Ryan’s grandfather Robert Bost, Sr. on the team that advanced downstate, remembered Ryan “as a good kid, an outstanding basketball player, and he was part of that strong family tradition.”

ETHS is a school with a history of outstanding athletes, but “I don’t think in the history of the school they had a family that experienced that kind of success – the grandfather, the father and the son,” he said.

He recalled the youngster as “very coachable,” when he participated in the FAAM program. 

“I thought he’d be a great coach because he had the temperament of a great coach,” he said.

“It’s such a tragedy,” he said of the shooting. “The fact that all these guns are on the street – I don’t know where they are coming from, for them to be so readily accessible.”

Coach Ellis recalled that Ryan’s grandfather, Robert Bost, Sr., was still on the coaching staff when Mr. Ellis was named coach 11 years ago. “He helped introduce me to the Evanston community and to ETHS basketball, so I think the world of the Bost family,” Coach Ellis said.

Ryan Bost played his freshman year and was a three-year starter at the high school.

He came in with high expectations, “and he lived up to those expectations,” Coach Ellis said.

Mr. Bost, along with teammates Jaheim Holden and Lance Jones, racked up110 wins in four years, the most in school history, Coach Ellis said. Their teams finished third in the State tournament in 2018, their junior year, and runner-up their senior year, 2019.

As a player, “Ryan was always putting others before him, which made him a great teammate,” Coach Ellis said. “He always made sacrifices for the team.”

His father, Robert Bost, Jr., talked about his son’s tenaciousness. Although under 6 feet in height, “he would guard somebody 6-feet,  6-7 – it didn’t matter to him.

“Ryan would take on the most important responsibility to shut that person down,” he said.

 After graduating in 2019, Mr. Bost received a full scholarship to play basketball at Post University in Waterbury, Conn., said Schwanda Bost.

She said that he came back after a semester at the school, never playing basketball. She said he was close to going to Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Ia., last January, but a few days before he was scheduled to go decided against it.

“I think he didn’t want to leave Evanston,” she said. “Everybody knew him; he knew everybody; the kids loved him.”

She said her son temporarily put aside for now a decision on where he would go to school because of COVID, with his goal for January, figuring out what he was going to do.

“Ryan was just a great kid, smart, intelligent, help anybody who needed help, always with a warm smile,” she said. “If he was happy he would make sure the person next to him was happy, and everybody was happy.”


Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.