Boateng visiting UNC this weekend

Most recruiting fans aren't familar with him, many recruiting analysts haven't even seen him yet and he's relatively new to the United States, but junior Eric Boateng is already a big time target of college basketball coaches.

Boateng, 18, is originally from London. He came to the states last year and since then has generated a ton of buzz in the college basketball recruiting world. Being 6-10, 230 pounds and athletically gifted, Boateng is already being rated by two major recruiting services as one of the top big men in the country in the class of 2005.

"Our phones have been ringing," said assistant coach Mike Hyde of his talented junior. "We're getting tons of mail."

"I think what coaches are finding appealing is his athletic ability and the way that he runs," Hyde said. "He's still learning the game, as he doesn't have a great feel for it just yet. But he's coming along so fast. He played varsity soccer here as a sophomore last year, so that shows that his coordination is pretty good. This summer he gained a whole lot of confidence going against some other good competition and he has a lot of potential."

Boateng attended the Nike Hoop Jamboree last year and his performance got him invited to the Nike Camp in Indianapolis. Since then, coaches from the east coast and west coast have been flocking in to St. Andrews in Delaware to see the big guy work out.

"UCLA has been over to see him. Boston College, Villanova, Georgetown, Xavier, West Virginia, Notre Dame, lots of schools. It's been crazy," Hyde said. "Kansas has told us that they're interested. Kentucky wants in. Maryland just called the other day. Michigan State, too."

And Boateng has planned trips to the Triangle as well – first up is Chapel Hill this weekend.

"He's going to Chapel Hill on the 7th, 8th and 9th of November," Hyde said. "And then I think he's going to go down to NC State and Duke on Thanksgiving weekend."

Boateng will be on the UNC campus this weekend with two committed Tar Heels -- JamesOn Curry and Quentin Thomas -- who will be taking their official visits this weekend and enrolling next summer.

Hyde informed IC that Boateng hadn't received offers from any of the three triangle schools yet, but he has already started to formulate some opinions on the area schools.

"He knows Luol Deng, so he knows all about what Duke is," said Hyde. "But then again, he knows about Michael Jordan and North Carolina."

Boateng has already fielded quite a few offers, though.

"Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, Xavier, Penn State and Boston College have all offered," Hyde said. "We're excited about him and we think he'll get a lot more offers soon."

On the academic side, Hyde admits that his big guy has his work cut out for him...

"Well, to be honest, we've got a tough academic school. He's not a great student, but he has a great work ethic. He really likes this school and he's working hard. I think he'll be fine."

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