On December 16th, the Texas Legends made a trade with the Agua Caliente Clippers to acquire former University of Connecticut point guard Ryan Boatright. Boatright, who just turned 26 on December 27th, won a national championship at UCONN in 2014.
“That was an unbelievable experience. Just a lot of fun, man. It was a lot of hard work. I came in and grew up with all those guys that won that chip. It was a special thing to be able to accomplish and I’ll never forget it.”
In mid-December when the trade between L.A. and Texas was finalized, Boatright was admittedly caught off guard.
“To be honest with you, I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting it. But I had some friends who played here (with Texas) and they had good things to say. After I got over the initial shock, I was excited to come.”
The Illinois native has played four games with the Legends so far, after seven with the Clippers.
“I’m still getting adjusted. The guys have embraced me with open arms, it’s all good guys here and we all get along. It wasn’t an easy transition but they made it easier for me.”
With the Huskies in college, Boatright was a 4-year player and averaged 17.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game during his senior season. He also shot 41 percent from three and 85 percent at the free throw line.
In his junior year, he became an NCAA champion.
“We were so focused on the task at hand that we didn’t really get to enjoy the actual process. Once it was over and we won, we sat back and had seen the videos and all the things that people made, and it was unbelievable. It was emotional. But we were so focused on winning the next game one by one that we were just locked in.”
Until his breakout senior campaign, he shared the spotlight at point guard with 2014 NBA first-round pick Shabazz Napier. He went back for his fourth year at UCONN to prove he could lead the team.
“My junior year me and Shabazz split a lot. He got a lot of the notoriety then, a good player and an older player. So just me going back and showing I could lead my own team and be a lead guard.”
After turning pro, he averaged 14.1 points in the 2015 NBA Summer League with the Brooklyn Nets. He then joined the Grand Rapids Drive, affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, for his first action in the G League.
He’s a different player now than he was in 2015 and 2016, also having spent time overseas with four different international clubs in Italy, China, Croatia and Turkey.
“I’m just older. More mature, you know. My mental side is a lot stronger. I’ve gotten better as a player. I think I’ve developed more as a point guard, not just as a scorer. I’m just an all-around better person and better basketball player this time around.”
Boatright plays bigger than his 5-foot-11 frame, doing many different things at the point guard position on both sides of the ball. His days have been well-traveled, but his current fit with the Legends could be what gets Boatright’s career facing starboard.
“I play hard, I’m an exciting player, and my main objective is to win. At the end of the day, I’m a winner.”