Ryan Boatright picks Mountaineers
AURORA, Ill. -- East Aurora's Ryan Boatright, the top-rated high school point guard in Illinois, committed to West Virginia on Monday.
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Boatright chose the Mountaineers over a list that included UConn, DePaul and Providence.
"I look forward to taking my talent elsewhere to the University of West Virginia," Boatright said, sounding a bit like LeBron James saying he would take his talents to South Beach and the Miami Heat.
Monday's decision was the second time Boatright committed to a college. As an eighth-grader, he announced his intention to join Tim Floyd's USC Trojans. He backed away from his commitment when Floyd left the program.
"Once he reopened his recruitment, there was pressure on him to continue to get high-major [scholarship offers]," East Aurora coach Wendell Jeffries said. "At that time, he had to work hard to prove to everyone he was a high-major player. He worked hard and he [proved himself]."
The speculation coming into Boatright's announcement was that he was down to Providence, which he visited this past weekend, and West Virginia. What set the Mountaineers apart, Boatright said, was the presence of legendary coach Bob Huggins.
"I know coach Huggins," Boatright said. "When he sees talent and he knows that you can play, he knows what he's talking about."
Boatright's reputation as one of the elite scoring guards in the nation is well-earned. He averaged 26.2 points per game as a junior, including a 45-point outburst in East Aurora's playoff upset of Neuqua Valley.
The 5-foot-11 Boatright ranks as the nation's No. 36 prospect, according to ESPN Recruiting. He was drawn to Huggins' track record of success with smaller scoring guards like Nick Van Exel at Cincinnati.
"I've seen coach Huggins' past," Boatright said. "I knew he knew how to deal with my talent and my size, and of course he knew how to win. And [I know] Morgantown is a great town from when I went there."
An ESPNChicago.com All-Area selection last season, he also averaged six rebounds, five assists and four steals per contest.
With Boatright off the board, Rock Island's Chasson Randle is now the state's top-rated uncommitted prospect. Randle is down to Illinois, Stanford and Purdue.