On The Road: Eric Boateng

MIDDLETOWN, Del. – Even at night, you can tell that St. Andrews School was the setting for the movie "Dead Poets Society." Nearly 11 years ago Robin Williams starred in the film but that's ancient history. Eric Boateng is the main character this season.

On Thursday, Middletown (DE) St. Andrews junior center Eric Boateng turned 18. The native of England certainly wished he could have been home celebrating with his family, but he understands the opportunities that are presenting themselves in the States.

"Life is good," Boateng said with a smile.

Ranked in our preseason top dozen juniors, Boateng (6-9+, 225) has loads of potential. He's by no means a finished product, but there's plenty there to work with. For instance, he was the second guy to arrive for practice and went straight to work on his face up game.

Boateng is a good athlete. He's got explosion in the post, a fine set of hands, the ability to be a talented shot blocker and a work ethic that will take him places. Playing high school basketball at a small private school in Delaware means that he's not going to face the kind of competition he did during the summer. For him, motivation and improvement will have to come from within. He's up to the task.

"I've spoken to a lot of people. I've asked questions like ‘would I be better off if I played against people my level?' They say that if I come out and play with the same intensity, I'll get better. I try to stay focused and go as hard as possible."

If practice is any indication of how focused he is, well, he'll be just fine. If he didn't finish first in the sprints then he was second. He approached everything coach Bob Rue did with full speed in mind, ran the floor well and was the chief communicator amongst his teammates. Just like he said: stay focused and be intense.

Aside from practice, Boateng finds his way to the gym each day where he'll hoist up jumpers or work on his post game. St. Andrews, a boarding school of 270, is an elite learning institution and Boateng is making sure he's improving in the classroom and on the court.

"I plan to get better," Boateng said. "I didn't go home [to England] in the summer. I stayed here for two months. During the summer Coach Rue helped me in many areas."

Thursday wasn't just Boateng's birthday; it marked the first day college coaches could be on the road evaluating talent. UCLA sent assistant coach Kerry Keating to the east to see Boateng; the Bruins have already offered.

Xavier is scheduled to visit him on Friday and Michigan and North Carolina State will be in town for a Saturday scrimmage. Following the scrimmage, Boateng will get in a car and head down for unofficial visits at NC State and Duke. Recently, he visited North Carolina.

"It was really good. I enjoyed the players and they were very welcoming. There was a great sense of unity. It looked like a fun place to be."

Thus far, Boateng has seen Boston College, UNC, Villanova and Georgetown unofficially. His list probably won't shorten during the season.

"I want to broaden my choices. I'm going to look into colleges. I will investigate." Investigating also means taking visits when he can, like the trip he's got this weekend.

The player said his coach receives all the calls but he tries to open as much mail as possible. "I'm looking for a place I can be comfortable. I want a coach and players who will work hard and have a good sense of humor and must be down to earth."

There's no doubt that Boateng will have his choice of suitors. College assistants are going to wear out a path from I-95 through the tiny rural town of Middletown down a back road and onto the picturesque campus of St. Andrew's.

Once they arrive they'll be treated to a good storyline, a developing plot and a terrific setting. Just like a movie.

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