#OTRHoopsReport – Boatwright to USC – August 8, 2014
4-star prospect Bennie Boatwright committed to USC last evening. The highly skilled forward joins a program that is on the rise.
Things just got brighter in Southern California for coach Andy Endfield and with the commitment of 6-foot-8 swing forward Bennie Boatwright of Sun Valley, Calif. The Trojan program is now one of the quickest rising programs on the West Coast as they now have scored their second 4-star recruit in the class of 2015. Boatwright joins Chimezie Metu of Lawndale, Calif., to give Enfield solid back to back recruiting classes. Last year the Trojans snagged two ESPN top 100 recruits in No. 41 Jordan McLaughlin of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and No. 92 Elijah Stewart of Los Angeles, Calif.
The Trojans are far from finished in this class as they have been recruiting two wings in Marquez Letcher-Ellis of Montverde Academy and Ray Smith of Las Vegas, Nev., very hard for some time. They have also offered shooting guard Malik Beasley of Alpharetta, Ga., in the class of 2015. Landing any combination of these recruits would put USC on the map of contenders in the PAC-12 in years to come.
While this commitment is big for the Trojans it seemed bigger for Bennie Boatwright last evening when he spoke with On the Radar Hoops in a phone interview. He picked USC over schools such as Arizona State, Gonzaga, UCLA and Washington. He said, “I would like to thank all the coaches who recruited me. I was able to meet a lot of great people, but USC is a great place and I am excited to be a part of the family there.”
When asked why he chose Southern California, he replied, “The location is important. It has a good atmosphere on campus. And the coaches have been great to me from the beginning.”
Boatwright did mention one coach in particular that played a big role in his recruitment. Bennie said, “Coach Jason Hart has been great. I knew him since I was in eighth grade and he was the head coach at Taft High School. He was trying to get me to play for him then.”
While Hart’s intial recruitment of Boatwright may have failed, the second try would be a success. He would get help from another recruit in Metu. The 6-9 power forward, is a big reason why Boatwright committed. “Chimezie really convinced me that this was the place for me. He recruited me as hard as anyone else” added Boatwright.
Coach Enfield and company will hope that duo pays dividends in the future. Metu’s athleticism and Boatwright’s skill will be tough for any front line to match up with.
We had the chance to watch Boatwright go heads up versus 5-star wing and Arizona signee, Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei High School January 31st of this year at the Nike Extravaganza. In that game Boatwright faced a physically imposing and mature specimen in Johnson, yet still managed to impact on the game with 19 points off of numerous three pointers. Coach Enfield gets a shooter who can get his shot off quickly with accuracy.
However, do not underestimate the other parts of Boatwright’s game. In Boatwright’s own words he says, “The strength of my game centers around my versatility. I can play multiple positions on the floor, and I can still get buckets.”
He backs up this statement with his production on the floor as he can provide rebounding even among elite athletes while still being an outside assassin from the arc. We saw this recently at Adidas Nationals when Boatwright squared off versus many of the top players in the class of 2015. If there is an area of improvement in Boatwright’s game, he knows it as well as anyone, “I have to get stronger. I know that I need to get bigger and that will help me on the defensive end.”
Trojan fans should be happy that they are getting a high level specialty player who has an even higher ceiling to grow into. Coach Enfield and his staff are moving the Trojan program in the right direction and Boatwright will be key piece to this puzzle.
Exposure and Showcase Opportunities:
Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. He is also the publisher of CoachHemi.com. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on twitter @JLHemingwayPSB
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