Tuesday, June 14, 2011

All is Right with Ryan Boatright

Just spoke briefly with Ryan Boatright, the incoming freshman point guard out of East Aurora, Ill. Boatright will arrive in Storrs in about 10 days – on Saturday, June 25 – and begin summer classes the following Monday.

Boatright, who was Illinois' co-Mr. Basketball this past winter along with Stanford-bound Chasson Randle, is looking forward to kicking off his Husky career. He has certainly taken note of the program's two signings last week – fellow incoming freshman DeAndre Daniels, a forward, and Class of 2012 guard Omar Calhoun, Jr.

"It's exciting, because I know we'll have a great team, year after year," Boatright said. "We'll always be strong, keeping the program at the top where it belongs."

Boatright averaged 32 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals per game as a senior for East Auroroa. A shoot-first point guard, he scored more than 50 points in a game twice, including 63 in one contest.

With Kemba Walker heading to the NBA, Boatright figures to fight for the Huskies' starting point guard position. Of course, sophomore-to-be Shabazz Napier will have something to say about that.

"I was never the type to take a back seat, or at least go in with that attitude," Boatright said. "I'm going in to fight for whatever I'm gonna fight for. But it's not about starting or anything like that, it's about doing what the team needs me to do."

Boatright has heard from both recently named co-captains Alex Oriakhi and Napier – mostly Oriakhi – over the past few weeks.

"He just keeps saying, 'It's gonna be fun.'"

Andre LaFleur was Boatright's prime recruiter. Of course, LaFleur left the UConn program in April to become Ed Cooley's associate head coach at Providence. Boatright was disappointed that LaFleur left.

"I mean, I couldn't say it was messed up, but it was just shocking, really," he said. "I didn't see that coming. I'm supportive of him, he had to do what he had to do. It didn't really make a difference for me coming there, though."

Neither, apparently, did the potential for Jim Calhoun to retire.

"He told me, just like he told everybody else, 'Don't worry about it 'til I say I'm not gonna be there.'"

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