At one point, somewhat recently in fact, Bennie Boatwright was flying underneath the radar on the national level. Those days, however, are gone. The talented sophomore from Mission Hills (CA) Alemany is no longer merely an afterthought on the whole recruiting landscape.
Interest in the 6-foot-8 small forward continues to grow and grow. Those searching for proof need not look any further than his recent offer from UCLA. UConn is another one of the country's more high-profile programs to put a scholarship on the table for Boatwright.
“Things were quiet for a while, I have a lot of schools calling me now. It's crazy,'' Boatwright said. “This process comes around once, I'm enjoying it.''
In the latest 247Sports Composite Rankings, he and moved up to the country's No. 8 player at his position for the Class of 2015 and No. 35 overall.
Boatwright's name is now mentioned in the same sentence as some of the best around, including peers such as Mickey Mitchell from Plano (TX) Prestonwood Academy, KJ Lawson from Memphis (TN) East and Ben Simmons from Montverde (FL) Montverde Academy.
In the Golden State, Boatwright compares rather well to counterparts such as Ivan Rabb from Oakland (CA) Bishop O'Dowd, Tyler Dorsey from Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco, Marcus Lovett from Burbank (CA) Providence and Aaron Holiday from North Hollywood (CA) Campbell Hall, among others.
“With his size and skill set, Bennie is an anomaly, players like him don't come around often and I'm sure colleges recognize that,'' Alemany coach Tray Meeks said. “Just because he has offers from some schools, don't expect him to rest. Bennie is going to work harder now. That's the sign of a player who wants to succeed at the next level. He has what it takes to play in college.''
The Bruins recently stepped up their collective efforts to land a commitment from Boatwright. After a visit to Westwood in late February, an offer followed a couple days later.
“To be honest, I was surprised and happy when UCLA offered,'' Boatwright said. “Talking with some of the Bruins coaches, it was cool. That's when I knew things were changing in the recruiting game. An offer from UCLA, that's big. Things are starting to happen for me.''
Boise State, New Mexico, Rice, San Diego State and UC Irvine are among his other offers at this stage of the game. Washington also has a scholarship waiting for him.
There are no plans for a commitment anytime soon. Taking his time with recruiting is the strategy. And why not? Boatwright, after all, has emerged as a legit prospect.
Sean Ceglinsky has covered prep and college sports on the West Coast for the better part of the past 15-plus years. Follow him on twitter: @SeanCeglinsky