Eric Boateng was playing club basketball in England when a high school coach from the United States bumped into him. With no particular plans to venture to the U.S. prior to the meeting, Boateng was all ears.
The 6-10 2005 center can't tell the difference between Duke and Drexel or Al Jefferson from George Jefferson and he's never watched college basketball in England, but he's here at Nike Camp and he's drawing interest from the big timers.
On Wednesday, guys like Mike Krzyzewski, Ben Howland, Bill Self and Skip Prosser were among the head coaches who were courtside throughout the day watching intently.
Like most young big kids, Boateng's defense is well ahead of his offense. He's a long, agile and active 6-10. He plays hard and has no idea who he's matched up against. Of the 188 campers here, no one knows less about the other kids than Boateng. He's new to the situation so instead of worrying about who he's playing, he's focused on how he's playing.
"I feel like I've got a lot to improve in terms of strength-wise," Boateng said. His first order of business at camp was getting rid of the jitters. He's settled in and is finally comfortable but it took a few days.
In fact, two weeks ago at the Hoop Jamboree, Boateng – who is completely new to this level of competition – had a case of stage fright early in the camp. "It's very similar [to the Hoop Jamboree]. The first two days I was very, very nervous. Then, the last two days I got comfortable."
The big fella can expect to hear from schools such as Villanova, Wake Forest, Kansas, Duke and UCLA; it's completely fair to say he's surprised himself to this point. "I've looked at other players such as Luol Deng. I've heard of what they can do. I never knew I would make the sort of impact I did."
Boateng isn't going to be playing much after Nike. He'll travel to the Charlie Weber event the 13th-15th and play with his AAU team, the Delaware Sharpshooters. After that, sometime in August, he'll leave for a visit back to England.
This guy was an honorable mention all-stater last year at Middletown (DE) St. Andrews. He'll be taking home some heavier hardware next season.