Connecticut guard Ryan Boatright (11) has the ball stripped while being defended by Providence forward Kadeem Batts (10) guards Ted Bancroft (22), Bryce Cotton (11) and Kris Dunn (3) during the overtime of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. Connecticut won in overtime 82-79. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)
It's not unusual to ask a player what he thinks of their teammates and get some version of "I wouldn't trade them for anybody" as a response. But when the New Haven Register's Dave Borges put that question to Ryan Boatright about the Huskies backcourt, Boatright wasn't just offering up an empty, canned response. He was serious: "I'll take my (backcourt) against any backcourt," he said.
It would explain why both Boatright and Shabazz Napier were invited to the Nike Guard Skills Academy in Union, NJ, earlier this month, and why Boatright got an invite to LeBron James' camp last week.
"It was fun, I played well," Boatright said of the Nike camp. "It was just fun getting a good workout in, playing against other kids from the West Coast and different conferences, the top competition in the country. It's always fun going head-up with the best."
Now, Boatright and Napier will be the engine that runs a Huskies team coming off 20 wins last season. But the rising junior admits that it wasn't all unicorns and rainbows with his backcourt mate.
"We had our differences, like everybody, but we're good friends," he said. "We get along great on the court, we know each other in and out. Back when I was a freshman, like any freshman, you're gonna bump heads. But we're all good now, we're on the same page. We just want to win."
Boatright has put on weight since the end of the season and says he expects to play more point guard next season. But you get the feeling that as long as he and Napier are on the court, the Huskies will always be in the game.
We all just play together, we're not scared of anybody, especially me and Shabazz," Boatright said. "We've got a lot of heart. Heart will take you a long way."