Bogan settling in nicely at Ole Miss

Only a year ago, Will Bogan was under a lot of radar screens. But a traveling team tournament in Las Vegas just about this time last summer changed all that.

The 6-foot-1, 165-pounder got a lot of attention when his team from Idaho played a team from Evansville, Ind.

"I had been under the radar, primarily because of where I'm from," the point guard said. "A lot of kids from Idaho don't get a lot of looks. The local schools knew about me. I had gone to a couple of tournaments leading up to the Vegas one, in Vancouver and Seattle. So it began expanding out to places like Montana, Washington, Oregon, the whole Northwest.

"I had some coaches calling and saying they were going to be in Vegas watching me. Ole Miss was not in there yet. The one I was most seriously interested in and hearing from most was Stanford. They called me before Vegas. They watched every one of my games in Vegas."

Soon, though, a lot of teams and their coaches were watching.

"We were playing the Evansville team, and Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski was there and Coach (Rick) Pitino walked in. Some North Carolina and Michigan coaches came in. They were there to see a kid on Evansville's team, a two-guard, a shooter. Coach (Andy) Kennedy and Coach (Owen) Miller were there from Ole Miss, just a lot of bigtime coaches were there."

And all those coaches saw Will Bogan play, most for the very first time.

"We hung with that team the whole day," he said of his team, the Boise Flite. "I had like 25 points. We were right there the whole game. We lost by five or six but played well. That was where some coaches noticed me."

And that's where his path to Oxford began.

"Coach Miller followed up and watched like two other games I played in. When the coaches could start calling me, they (Ole Miss) did, and they offered me."

He and his father visited Oxford for the Florida football weekend. Stanford and Air Force were still heavily in the picture, and a lot of mid-majors as well. He and Terrance Henry visited the same weekend. Ironically, and though they did not know in advance, both committed to Ole Miss the same day, then signed in November. Now they're roommates.

Ole Miss sees Bogan as a point guard. Chris Warren is here as well. Bogan has played a lot of pick-up games in his few weeks here, and he's learned more just how good the competition is at this level.

"I need to improve my quickness and foot speed to be able to guard guys like Chris Warren," he said. "He is one of the quickest guys I've ever played. I also have to improve my overall fundamentals. Everything needs to be upped a notch. I feel I have the skills, but it's just harder to get an open look at this level, to create space and that kind of thing. In high school I could do it whenever I wanted, pretty much. I've already seen that it's different here."

Bogan led Vallivue High School, in the Boise suburb of Caldwell, to the consolation championship at the 5A state tournament his junior season. This past season he and his teammates won it all as Coach Mike Chatterton's squad took home the trophy in Idaho's largest classification.

Bogan said it was quite the sendoff to Division I and the Southeastern Conference.

"The conference, the competition, the crowds and the atmosphere. Sports is so big here," he said. "I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to play at the highest level I could to challenge myself and be the best player I can be."

Ole Miss was all that and more for Bogan.

"I like the coaching staff and the style of play," he said. "I'm comfortable here. I like the campus and the community."

He believes he can bring a game to the Rebel program that perhaps some fans aren't sure he can at this stage.

"Everybody probably has the preconceived notion that I'm just a shooter coming in that's going to shoot a bunch of 3s," he said. "But I actually am hoping to come in and bring more than just shooting. I want to be a person who can handle the ball, handle pressure and penetrate for my teammates, kick out, that kind of thing. I believe I'm mentally tough."

There have been some changes for him here. Weight room and conditioning work is already showing up in a positive way, he says. Being in the South, there are some adjustments. The heat and humidity continue to build as the summer moves on. He says he's tried grits, but he isn't too sure about them.

"Not a big fan – yet. Maybe I'll adapt," he said with a laugh.

His parents, Bill and Janelle, may buy a condo here so they can spend a lot of time in north Mississippi, especially during basketball season. They'll be here for the Memphis football game Labor Day weekend.

"By then, they may even have a place here," said Will, who has no brothers or sisters.

As for hoops, which is obviously why he's here, it may only be June. But he already has some goals in mind for year one.

"I expect to come in and compete for decent minutes," he said. "I think that's probably the goal for any incoming freshman."

Certainly it is for new Rebel Will Bogan.

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