2005 Focus: Eric Boateng

Eric Boateng, the No. 12 prospect in the junior class, has been busy this fall making unofficial visits. For a guy who's from England, seeing campuses is a vital part of learning about the college game.

Eric Boateng, a 6-10, 220 pound center who plays for Middletown (DE) St. Andrews School, is in the process of becoming a household name. He's already a big name amongst high-major schools.

Just who is he you ask? Well, Boateng arrived in the States last year from his native England. How he came to play American high school hoops is a great story, one that's unlikely to be duplicated in the future.

For starters, the only reason he's even playing basketball today is that a coach in London spotted him walking down the street and told him that he should be playing basketball. "One practice and the rest is history," St. Andrews coach Bob Rue said.

There's a great story as to how he actually arrived in Delaware. A TV station in London was looking to get an American's point of view on Boateng so they called Tony Tucker, the current head coach at IMG and a former St. Andrews assistant.

"They called him because they were doing a segment on Eric on some kids show in London," Rue said. "They set it up so this American high school coach would come over and evaluate whether this British kid was good enough to come over and play in the States. That's how it got started. I don't think that will happen again."

Last season, American basketball was a big adjustment for Boateng. Still, he averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. "There was a huge learning curve there," Rue said. "He still performed very well and was a huge factor for us."

More is expected out of Boateng this season. After very promising efforts at the Nike Hoop Jamboree and All-American Camp, there's good reason to believe that he's only scratching the surface.

"I really think that's right," Rue said. "I really, really do. I know the kid very well and see him everyday. When you see what he does in the weight room or what he's doing in the gym with strength and conditioning … he's a rare, rare kid."

Recently, Boateng has been on a little unofficial visit spree. He's already been to Villanova, Boston College and Georgetown. Coming up this month, he's heading to the Triangle in North Carolina to see three ACC programs.

According to Rue, on Nov. 8 he'll visit North Carolina unofficially. Then, on Nov. 22 he'll be at North Carolina State and on the next day he'll trip to Duke. A practice to St. Joseph's is in the works but unofficial visits are actually tough for him.

"We try to organize it so that he's never missing class. Saturday morning classes make it harder."

Notre Dame, UCLA and Xavier are also a few prominent names on his list but in all likelihood, he's going to have to wait until after the first of the year when he can take official visits to see those campuses since they are not within driving distance.

Despite all the big time attention, Rue marvels at how level-headed his star remains.

"The amount of mail he gets is enormous. He's great about it. I would bet you if I polled the St. Andrews faculty and students, over half of them would not even know Eric is ranked where he is in the nation. The reason for that is he doesn't carry his mail around. He doesn't let it pile up and doesn't want to be seen with it. He's very low-key about it. He doesn't want to be perceived as a super star."

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