Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Will UConn Have Best Backcourt in College Basketball Next Season? Ryan Boatright Thinks So

Had a nice chat with Ryan Boatright today for a story I'm working on regarding UConn's backcourt.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a better backcourt in America next season. I may be forgetting a team or two, but is there anyone who could actually top Boatright, Shabazz Napier and Omar Calhoun (along with incoming grad student Lasan Kromah and freshman Terrence Samuel)?

I tend to doubt it, and so does Boatright.

"I'll take my (backcourt) against any backcourt," he said.

Maybe the best evidence is the fact that UConn was the only school with two players (Boatright and Napier) at the recent NIKE Guard Skills Academy in Union, N.J.

"It was fun, I played well," Boatright reported. "It was just fun getting a good workout in, playing against other kids from the West Coast and different conferences, the top competition in the country. It's always fun going head-up with the best."

Boatright was a teammate of Napier's on the first day of camp, then went up against him the second day. Who got the best of whom?

"Of course I'm gonna say me," Boatright said with a laugh. "We both got each other's number."

Truth is, Boatright and Napier didn't always get along swimmingly when Boatright first got to UConn two seasons ago.

"We had our differences, like everybody, but we're good friends," he said. "We get along great on the court, we know each other in and out. Back when I was a freshman, like any freshman, you're gonna bump heads. But we're all good now, we're on the same page. We just want to win."

Boatright said he's expecting more big things from Calhoun this season, and is looking forward to playing with Samuel, whom he hasn't met yet.

"He's gonna get a chance to learn from two very experienced guards, me and Shabazz, who are both ready for the NBA," Boatright said.

Boatright said he's already gained 10 pounds since March (up to 175 pounds) and that he'll be playing the point more often than Napier next season.

"In the NBA, I'm gonna be a point guard, I'm not gonna be a two," he said. "My natural position is point guard, but I'm able to score. I can score at any level."

Boatright will finish up summer courses in Storrs this week and head back home to Aurora, Ill., where he'll play in the NIKE/Jordan Brand pro-am. He'll attend Chris Paul's CP3 camp for the second year in a row in August before returning to UConn.

Once October rolls around, Boatright will be ready to join forces with what could be the best backcourt in college basketball.

"We all just play together, we're not scared of anybody, especially me and Shabazz," Boatright said. "We've got a lot of heart. Heart will take you a long way."

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