Ryan BoatrightThe list of freshmen with eligibility concerns grew longer on Wednesday morning when UConn announced it will hold point guard Ryan Boatright out of games hours before the Huskies' season-opening exhibition matchup with American International.
UConn specified in its release that the NCAA's review of Boatright's eligibility "is not related to academics." That suggests this is almost certainly a potential amateurism or extra benefits issue.
If Boatright is unable to play for an extended period of time, it would be a blow to a UConn backcourt that isn't especially deep as a result of the Huskies only being allowed to use 10 scholarships this season. Sophomore Shabazz Napier will start at point guard for UConn, but the highly touted Boatright was the team's lone capable backup at the position.
Boatright, Rivals.com's No. 42 recruit in the Class of 2011, was one of the jewels of a UConn recruiting class that also included heralded center Andre Drummond and high-scoring forward DeAndre Daniels.UConn coach Jim Calhoun went so far as to compare the 6-foot guard to Kemba Walker in a recent interview with the Hartford Courant.
"He's got some similarities to Kemba in that he can score," Calhoun said. "I'd say he's 60-40 — 60 percent scorer, 40 percent pure point guard."
The options at backup point guard aren't promising for UConn if Boatright misses any regular season action. Maybe walk-on 5-foot-10 walk-on Ethan Waitte receives a few minutes off the bench to spell Napier, or perhaps 6-foot-5 Jeremy Lamb has to run the offense for a few possessions per half.
Either way, Napier would have to play 30-35 minutes a night in Boatright's absence and the Huskies would be at a severe defensive disadvantage anytime he was out.