Boateng's New Destination

Eric Boateng, the No. 36 player in the nation and third-ranked center in the Class of 2005, has settled on a new destination after leaving Duke following his freshman campaign.

One of the chief complaints about Herb Sendek from N.C. State fans was that he didn't pile up enough victories against Duke and North Carolina. Well, he just got one against Mike Krzyzewski when former Blue Devils big man Eric Boateng announced he is headed to join Sendek at Arizona State.

Boateng, a former McDonald's All-American who played sparingly in Durham as a freshman this past season, is a major coup for Sendek – who is trying to rebuild a program in Tempe left in disarray by former Sun Devils boss Rob Evans.

``I really like the vision, passion and the commitment that Coach Sendek has in me and also in Arizona State," said Boateng, who also visited Michigan, Notre Dame, George Washington and Delaware. "I think it's a great time to come into the program. He's trying to build something and I want to be a part of it."

``It was the whole package," added Boateng. "It's a fresh start for both of us."

Krzyzewski was shocked when Boateng opted to leave Duke. The Blue Devils frontline was in question when the England native, who wanted to follow in countryman Loul Deng's footsteps in Raleigh, walked into Krzyzewski's office and informed him of his decision. There were no signs that Boateng was unhappy.

``He was surprised," Boateng said.

Boateng stood firm despite Coach K's plea to remain in Durham – with major minutes likely on the table after senior Shelden Williams graduated and the then-uncertain status of Josh McRoberts, who since decided to return for his sophomore campaign.

Even with McRoberts in the fold, Boateng would have had to compete with incoming freshman Brian Zoubek, freshman power forward Jamal Boykin and high-energy guy Lance Thomas for minutes.

``It came down to where I felt I couldn't really develop like I wanted in Duke's system," Boateng said. "I cherish all the relationships I had with the coaching staff, my teammates and my friends at Duke, but I felt like in order for me to achieve what I wanted as a player and in life, moving on was the best for me."

Now Boateng will likely become a major piece of the latest Sendek rebuilding effort. He took N.C. State to a handful of consecutive NCAA appearances, but it wasn't enough for Wolfpack fans who virtually chased him out of Raleigh.

Boateng joins incoming freshman Jerren Shipp, the younger brother of former Cal standout Joe and of current UCLA standout Josh Shipp.

Boateng's numbers are misleading. He averaged less than one point in 2.5 minutes per game this past season, but it wasn't necessarily because Krzyzewski didn't feel he was good enough. Coach K rarely goes with a deep rotation and Boateng was unfortunate to play behind Williams. The same can be said for Martynas Pocius, who got limited minutes backing up J.J. Redick.

However, numerous sources close to the Blue Devils program have said that Boateng improved dramatically over the season and could have been a factor in Durham this coming season.

Instead, he'll be a factor in Tempe.


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