Saturday, June 30, 2007

Boatright the real deal.... for a freshman

POINT #1 .... Much has been made about the recent commitment of East Aurora freshman-to-be Ryan Boatright to coach Tim Floyd and USC. And many of the comments, some of which have been very critical of the process, are made by people that have never seen him play.

Everyone has their own perspective and what they think is the right way to handle recruiting. The majority of people out there feel its ridiculous for a kid to commit (and a major college coach to offer a scholarship) before even entering high school. A lot can obviously happen in four years, whether it be with the player's development or the program and coach the player committed to.

But if a college coach is a strong enough talent evaluator and can project a prospect's future when they have just turned 13 or 14, all the more power to him. Who are we to say they're nuts? It's their job! The problem occurs when--and if--these coaches start pulling the scholarships off the table before signing day. But until that starts happening at an alarming rate--and it probably won't because a coach never wants to establish that reputation in the recruiting world--we all need to accept this is the trend that is happening across college basketball recruiting.

POINT #2 .... The kid can flat-out play. He already has an unbelievable feel for the game, terrific ballhandling skills and is a capable shooter for a kid coming out of the 8th grade. He has plenty to work on, but after watching him play it's pretty easy to see he's a Division I prospect. Yes, even at this age. His biggest drawback is his size. He's listed at 5-10 but is probably closer to 5-8 or 5-9. And he's a very slender kid who doesn't look as if he's going to get a whole lot bigger. I remember watching his father play, Mike McAllister, an overachieving 5-8 point guard at East Aurora in the early 1990s. McAllister had a terrific March and helped lead coach Scott Martens' club to a surprising Elite Eight appearance in 1992.

POINT #3 .... My biggest concern with such an early player commitment is the pressure it places on the young player. You can already see it, where people are scurrying around the gym trying to find out who the player is that committed to USC a few weeks out of 8th grade? How will this impact young Ryan Boatright in the next couple of years as he adapts to playing varsity basketball for coach Wendell Jeffries' Tomcats? Every kid will handle it differently. It will be fun to see how Boatright handles the added pressure and watching him develop over the next four years.

What everyone needs to remember is that he is still just 14 years old and has so much room to grow as a player. He's a talented, talented kid that, with continued hard work and proper focus, could very well live up to the unbearable expectations placed upon him.

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