Even before we learned that point guard Shabazz Napier had surgery on right foot, sophomore guard Ryan Boatright was going to have to have a big season for the Huskies to surpass the decidedly low expectations that come with a depleted lineup and a postseason ban.
Not surprisingly, Boatright's freshman season was a roller coaster, from having miss early games while the NCAA sorted his eligibility to the glimpses of just how good he can be. Now he's ready to take on more of a leadership role in much the same way Napier did last season following the Huskies' championship run in 2010-11.
“I was born to be a leader,” Boatright told the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore. “I was raised to be a leader. I was a team leader in high school. I would be doing it anyway, but with the inexperienced team we have, I’m speaking out, when I see something that doesn’t look right, I’ll say something to the person. And I try to lead by example.”
Assistant coach Glen Miller sees it too.
“What a leader he has been,” he said. “Especially in the early-morning weight-training sessions. Everybody has been working hard, but Ryan is right at the top of the list.”
There's an old saying -- integrity is what you do when no one is watching -- and that holds here. Away from the media glare and television cameras Boatright is working just as hard as he would in a February conference game. There's something to be said for that. Whether it'll be enough to propel the Huskies to something more than a middle-of-the-road Big East team is another matter, but it never hurts to have players like this on your team taking on prominent roles.