Jumping (Back) On The Boat

Bennie Boatwright, Sr.'s take on the new staff is one you'll want to hear, and one his son echoes after the new staff re-offered the four-star forward.

Last weekend, at the Adidas Gauntlet, Bennie Boatwright, Jr., so thoroughly, completely and utterly dismantled the vaunted Atlanta Celtics AAU team, that their head coach made a point of not only telling Boatwright's father – Boatwright, Sr. – about how impressed he was with his son's performance, but he made it known in college coaching circles. On Monday, the California staff re-offered him.

The Bears staff already had their sights set on the 6-foot-8 power forward out of Sun Valley (Calif.) Valley Christian Schools, but after last weekend, head coach Cuonzo Martin's first call on Monday was to Bennie, Sr.

"The coach called me this morning, from Cal, the new Cal coach, and he asked where Bennie was, and I said that he was studying for a test, and he'd be home in about 20 minutes," Bennie, Sr., said. "He said, ‘I want to offer him a scholarship, and I want to tell Bennie myself,' and I said, ‘That's cool with me.' When I got home, he got on the phone, and they talked, and he offered."

"[Martin] was asking me how I did over the weekend, and asking if I was doing off-the-dribble moves or was I driving it up the court and pushing it, and asking me if I was competing hard," Boatwright, Jr., said. "And then, he offered me a scholarship. I was happy about that."

What was Bennie, Jr.'s reaction?

"That's big. It's great to know that the school wants me, and it's going to be good getting to know them," he said.

The previous coaching staff had offered Boatwright, and after seeing the kind of damage he could do this weekend, the new staff acted quickly. What exactly did he do that had so many gushing?

"After three games, he was averaging 25 points per game," his father said. "He had 23 and 18 rebounds on Friday night at the Adidas Gauntlet in Indianapolis, against Team Loaded. He came back and scored 26 and 13 against Milwaukee, and in his third game, he played the Atlanta Celtics, who had high praise for him, and he had 30."

During that game against the Celtics, Bennie, Jr., went 7-for-10 from three-point land and 7-for-7 from the free throw line. On the weekend, he hit 34 of 37 from the charity stripe. From there, you've just got to hold your focus."

"I was trying to be versatile and not just catching and shooting, but shooting off the dribble, getting to the rim and getting to the free throw line," Boatwright, Jr., said. "That's what helped me a lot.

He averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds in five games. In short, there was nothing that could stop the Gamepoint star. It's a weekend that Boatwright, Sr., called "scintillating," and it's tough to disagree.

"I'm flattered to know that people know what I can do" Boatwright, Jr., said about his praise from the Celtics. "Hard work pays off. I've just been working hard and getting in the gym and trying to stay focused."

When Martin and the new staff took over, Boatwright, Sr., took the initiative and called them straight away to let them know that his son was interested. The relationship has developed from there.

"I contacted him, and he told me they had high interest in Bennie, and they were going to keep abreast of what was going on. And then, he had this scintillating weekend," Boatwright, Sr., said. "Of course, the old Cal regime, we knew them and they knew him, but [Martin's] background at Tennessee, and the style of basketball that they play, I think Bennie could fit in very well with them, and we have high interest in Cal."

As familiar as Boatwright, Sr., was with Martin's work at Tennessee ("He has a history of player development at Tennessee, before he came to Cal," Boatwright, Sr., said), Boatwright, Jr., knew assistant Yanni Hufnagel from when he was recruiting the West Coast at Vanderbilt, though the two had only briefly been in contact before Hufnagel came out to fill Cal's final assistant spot.

"I'm just starting to get to know them," Boatwright said. "I'm just getting to know them now."

That being said, it appears as though this staff is in better position than the former staff, when it comes to landing Boatwright's services.

"I'm starting to really like this staff," Boatwright said. "The old staff was really nice, and I really liked them, as well, but this staff, I can tell likes me a lot, and I'm really considering them."


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