Monday, November 8, 2010
Ryan Boatright picks UConn
By Dave Telep
Ryan Boatright gave a birthday present to his mom and a gift to Jim Calhoun all at the same time. The 6-foot-2 point guard out of Aurora (Ill.) East committed to the Connecticut Huskies on Monday after considering UNLV, Miami and Oklahoma.
Boatright's commitment to Connecticut was founded in a pair of relationships Calhoun established a long time ago with two former players who now are assistants for the Huskies.
"Coach [Andre] LaFleur did a great job," Tanesha Boatright, Ryan's mother, told ESPN. "Him and coach [Kevin] Ollie; they were very consistent with me calling and asking a thousand questions. I kept asking until I felt good about it, and they were patient and consistent and that had a lot to do with it.
"I think it's great to have two assistant coaches who played for Coach Calhoun and can help you become a great point guard," she said. "They had great insight into Ryan as a player and individual. They told him that you have to know how to get through adversity."
Ryan Boatright has been through adversity with his recruitment -- twice. As an up-and-coming eighth grader, Boatright made a commitment to Tim Floyd, then the coach at Southern California. Floyd later left the program, and Boatright's pledge evaporated.
"We knew it wasn't a guarantee that Coach Floyd would be there," Tanesha Boatright said. "At the same time, it wasn't a decision he walked away from. Actually, Ryan never changed his mind; the coach left. Tim Floyd left, the verbal wasn't there and the new coach didn't uphold the verbal."
Ryan Boatright, ranked No. 76 in the ESPNU 100, made a brief commitment a few weeks ago to West Virginia. Once again, circumstances dictated that he wouldn't play for the Mountaineers. Boatright was caught off guard when West Virginia gained a pledge from point guard Jabarie Hinds (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon), forcing the senior to reconsider his decision.
"We don't look at it in a negative way with USC or West Virginia. If it was meant to be, it would have worked. That's how I look at it," Tanesha Boatright said. "Ryan didn't do anything wrong.
"It's not like Ryan is committing and walking away. The changing of the mind was because of the university, not because Ryan was turning his back on [the schools]."
After realizing he wasn't going to West Virginia, Ryan Boatright looked strongly at UNLV and UConn. The Huskies, despite being in the midst of an NCAA investigation, had always ranked high on Boatright's list. UConn reaffirmed its commitment to recruiting Boatright, and on Monday, Boatright committed to UConn.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.