Sunday, January 29, 2012

Boatright Returns to Action

Ryan Boatright returned to action on Sunday in UConn’s 50-48 loss to Notre Dame, scoring six points and doling out a pair of assists in 30 high-energy minutes off the bench. He earned a loud ovation from the 16,294 when he entered the game just over six minutes into play as his second suspension due to eligibility issues officially came to an end.

“It’s finally over with, we can finally put it behind us,” Boatright insisted afterwards. “We don’t have to be worried about me being pulled out again.”

Perhaps, but the ordeal appears far from over. On Sunday morning, Scott W. Tompsett, attorney for Boatright’s mother, Tanesha, issued a statement saying he was “astounded” that the NCAA released confidential information about the case the day before, that much of the NCAA’s information was “false and misleading,” and that the Boatrights are considering legal action.

On Sunday afternoon, the NCAA responded with a statement that said Tompsett’s allegations were not accurate, that its statement on Saturday was factual, that it acted appropriately to ensure false media reports didn’t continue and that it didn’t violate Boatright’s or his family’s privacy in any way.

“In fact,” the NCAA statement said, “both UConn and Mr. Boatright should be commended for their cooperation throughout the process to gather information. The school and student-athlete’s dedication to uncover the facts should be viewed as a positive example … Had Ms. Boatright cooperated fully from the beginning, this matter could have been settled months ago.”

According to the NCAA’s statement on Saturday, Boatright was given limited immunity and allowed to play back in mid-November after a six-game suspension to start the season, but after new information cropped up, his eligibility was still in question until Tanesha Boatright sent the NCAA documents on Friday evening.

Boatright just wants to put the whole situation behind him.

“(The NCAA) shut the whole thing down, no more questions, nothing about anything,” he insisted. “They say it’s over with.”

Asked about what it meant for him to get limited immunity in exchange for honest testimony, he said: “I’ve been cooperating fully the whole time … I don’t even know what the word (immunity) meant, I had never heard it before my whole life.”

And he added that he had no idea of any possible pending legal action: “Whatever my mom and the lawyer have going on, that’s with them.”

Boatright, who has been practicing with the Huskies all along, appeared a tad rusty, missing all three of his 3-pointers.

“I’m sure that Ryan was trying to work out a lot of kinks,” said Jim Calhoun. “He’s always going to give a very good effort. He’s a very good basketball player, and I think he has a great future at UConn.”

Added Jeremy Lamb: “He was Ryan. He was doing what he does. Just like everybody else today, he missed some open shots. I missed open shots, ‘Bazz missed open shots. He definitely played good ‘D,’ tried to give us energy, but everybody wasn’t tuned in.”

Indeed, at times it appeared Boatright was UConn’s only source of energy in the ugly loss.

“I’ve been practicing, but practicing and game-conditioning are a whole other thing,” he explained. “I’m back now, we’re going to hit the ground running, pull together as a team and try to make a run like last year.”

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