Thursday, August 17, 2017

David Duke Talks Providence, Final Five

One of the primary questions enveloping David Duke's recruitment is a question most incoming senior prospects must eventually entertain.

 Every playmaker at Duke's level, every kid who eventually evolves into a hotly-pursued recruit nationally, must answer it.

Should I stay close to home or go elsewhere?

Soon enough, Duke could decide to leave the cozy confines of his home city. Or, he could stay and embrace the homegrown star role.

Currently one of the most highly regarded late-blooming point guards remaining in the Class of 2018,  Duke is very much representative of his home state of Rhode Island.

The two-way guard has developed a tight bond with the Providence coaching staff. Of course, his homeland is emblematic of the support system he's established as a talented and uber-athletic guard.

Yet there is the allure and undeniable pull of higher-profile programs which traditionally produce top-shelf, NBA-bound guards.

"Ultimately, I think my decision is going to come down to my feel for the school," said Duke, who has trimmed a long list down to five.

"It's also going to come down to who is recruiting me the hardest and who will contribute the most to my player development. Really, how well I fall into place there is important."

Duke added to his offensive arsenal this summer, incorporating a once-lacking mid-range and deep jumper.

"I've always been told that's been one of my weak points and an area I could do better in," said Duke, referring to his shooting ability.

"So I wanted to show I could do a little more than just score on the drive. I worked a lot on it and really tried to improve on it as the summer progressed."

Yes, Ed Cooley and the Friars bolstered their chances tremendously in gaining a commitment from A.J. Reeves.

 A four-star small forward with a wealth of scoring tools and bouncy athleticism,  Reeves chose Providence over Virginia, Villanova, and Louisville. Reeves, Duke's teammate on Mass Rivals AAU, possesses the star clout to instantly raise the profile of the program.

Duke, who has blossomed into one of the country's elite on-the-ball defenders, has narrowed his choices down to Providence, Florida, Villanova, Indiana, and Virginia Tech.

He made this final five official recently. Providence has been there early and often,  albeit Florida and Villanova have appeared to up their ante in recent moments.

 Duke described all five as even, with each program trying to gain the upper hand over the other four.

"Jay Wright was at a lot of games during the course of the summer," said Mass Rivals AAU coach Vin Pastore, who has coached Duke, A.J. Reeves, and Providence commit Makai Ashton-Langford these past few years.

"Sometimes location can work for you and sometimes it could work against you. With David, I think the kid is fond of his home state. He's fond of the coaching staff. The real question is, does he want to stay that close to home? I think Providence has put a whole lot of time into him. It's no secret. They've surely got some competition. Villanova has a reputation for having some of the best guards in the country."

Duke cited his relationship with the coaching staff and the Friars' consistency throughout the process as  pivotal factors.

"I mean they've put in a lot of effort," Duke said of the potential next door destination.

"Them being at almost every AAU game of mine, being at my home games and away games, it pretty much shows they've prioritized me and it means a lot. Right now, I don't have any visits set. All of the (five) programs are pretty much moving at the same pace. Now that I've narrowed it down to five, each school is really trying to do something extra to get me over there."

Long, heady, and capable of tearing into the teeth of the defense and finishing with either hand acrobatically, Duke has authored quite the summer.

He proved himself as a vastly improved defensive presence in both Italy and at the prestigious NBPA Top 100 camp.

Duke also converted turnovers into fast break buckets as effectively as anyone at the camp, which took place at the University of Virginia. Duke's ball handling, bolt-quick first step, and finishing ability were all on display throughout.

"He's continued to develop as a lead guard and when you put his upside into the equation, I think he's as good a prospect as anyone in the country in that position," said Pastore, whose club went 13-6 while playing a schedule rife with national powers this summer.

"In today's game he's a point guard that is a huge threat to score the basketball, which is very much aligned with today's NBA guys. Yet what continues to separate David from most of his peers is the fact that he's elite on both sides of the ball. He showed a great knack for being able to get steals, tipping balls, and making plays this summer. The fact that he was the guy with the ball in his hands all the time, it showed he could initiate and get people involved and also go score a bucket when he needs to."

Duke depicted it as an up-and-down summer, with his defensive acumen and drastically improved confidence shooting the ball showing out in the end.

"At first, playing overseas (in Italy) I really had to adjust to a different type of style," Duke recalled. "I struggled a little bit in South Carolina. But the next weekend in Florida, I played really well and just got my confidence back 100 percent. I think I finished out strong, I'd say I played good on defense and was able to show how I can impact the game on that end."

Top-Shelf Programs Prioritizing The Rock's Days

An all three levels scoring aptitude.

A vastly improved defensive focus.

An explosive vertical, potent finishing ability, and the physicality to bulldoze to the rim while staving off double and triple teams.

All of these critical factors propelled Darius Days' frantic rise from unheralded recruit to a major priority for high major programs such as LSU, Kansas, Louisville, North Carolina, and Texas A & M.

The list is still growing, especially after a commendable summer in which the 6-foot-8, 218-pound Class of 2018 forward performed on the nation's premier proving grounds.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Class of 2019 Guard Elame Embracing Challenge Of 'Prove It' Season

Many kids have extraordinary goals. Few, however, possess the inner desire and work rate and perseverance to follow through on them. Nicolas Elame, a bouncy and hard-driving 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard from France, is one notable exception.

For as long back as he recalls, Elame expressed a desire to pursue his basketball dreams in America.

The culture and gung-ho spirit behind the NCAA tournament was an enticing factor. There's also the attraction of the NBA, the league in which French hoop luminaries such as Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, and Tony Parker found fame and longevity.

After displaying an advanced skill-set as a defensive catalyst laced with quickness, along with the bouncy athleticism that aligns with the American game, Elame wasted no time. He discovered a pathway to citizenship in the United States through a club coach. And so he took the first step in pursuit of his dream.

It did not come easy. The one major roadblock, at first, was adapting to a new and complicated language on the fly.

In instant-hit fashion, Elame was asked to incorporate this loose feel for English to American education classes. This is without a translation system and without much available assistance. The time management concepts, which are even more critical in college, could be overwhelming to some.

 Elame also had to bid adieu to his friends back home and assimilate to an entirely new inner circle of fresh faces. Now speaking English fluently (with the accent of course detectable) and picking up on sophisticated SAT words, Elame even had to adapt to a host family. He's an out-of-country guest in a barren, mountain-dotted setting.

 An adoptive family played a role in keeping Elame's American hoop dreams intact. He's currently enrolled at Bella Vista Prep in Scottsdale, AZ.

These daunting challenges and frantic changes certainly are not suited for everyone. Yet they are exactly what Elame, who loves the hyper-competitive style of the American game, could have asked for.

This year, with Bella Vista Prep maximizing its exposure in the prestigious Grind Session, Elame will again embrace the inevitable challenges.

Grind Session, which has beefed up its schedule and talent pool significantly this season, provides the opportunity to matchup the elite of the elite in high school and post-graduate basketball. It presents a grand stage for the five-star recruit and the under-the-radar recruit just looking to secure that one Division-I offer.

It gives prospects the opportunity to play before a national audience, underscored by the 50-60+ Division-I coaches located in the stands.

"This year I'm looking to establish myself as an all-around playmaker at guard, a guy who can score and pass the ball and defend with the best of them," said Elame, who now has major confidence in his once-lacking mid-range jumper.

"It's really a prove it year for me. I'm launching up shots every day, getting into the weight room and making everything a priority. The main reason I chose Bella Vista is because it's a disciplined program that holds its players to high expectations. The structure is serious, they run it like a college program. We have an extremely competitive schedule and there is a great deal of exposure that I could gain. This is what I'm hoping for."

Elame was thrown to the wolves during his first month in the United States. In his very first open gym, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and Florida head coach Mike White were in attendance. While both coaches were recruiting other players, Elame recalls an intense rush of chills. It wasn't a familiar case of a starstruck teenager as much as it was a reminder that his dreams were somewhat in reach.

This was the opportunity he had longed for and prayed for. Elame played to his capabilities that night, applying tight on-the-ball pressure and going hard to the rim.

He would soon realize, however, just how significant the key differences in the American game were.

There was a constant quick pace and freakishly athletic, high-rising opponents on every court. The frontline here on the American prep scene were tremendously bigger and more intimidating. Every night, there seemed to be 7-foot rim protectors waiting for his trademark slashes from both angles.

And so Elame invested more focus into a progressing catch-and-stick game and his development of a smooth 20-foot jumper. He's become cognizant a reliable jumper is akin to eating in importance. Especially as a scoring threat playing both guard positions.

During Elame's first game at Christian Life Academy in Houston, Elame broke through traffic for a wowing one-handed dunk.

The play, which gained mega-views on social media, provided an early spark. Elame averaged 13 points as a steady supplementary scorer, playing primarily off the ball. While Elame added sturdy defense, he soon found himself at odds with his coaching staff.

"We didn't see to eye to eye on a few things and we basically decided to go in a different direction as far as my pursuit of a scholarship," Elame said. "It was nothing personal. I just needed a different situation based on what I had to offer, basketball-wise."

While frustrating, the setback did nothing to deter his focus. After all, he traveled all the way from France just to chase the same dream he'd be entertaining since age seven.

This summer, Elame gave an efficient account of his abilities. Elame poured in a game-best 19 points in leading Texas Hardwood Prospects to a 54-45 victory over Elite 17U in the GASO championships, attacking the rim and showcasing the new touch.

"My defense was always the best part of my game, so when I got here I realized I had to focus on my shooting," Elame said. "I've been putting in consistent work all summer and applying the no days off attitude and I'm starting to see the results."

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cameroon Big Man To Transfer To Scotland Campus Sports

Recent Bradley commit and 7-foot, 225-pound Center Aristide "Ari" Boya has transferred from Calusa Prep (FL) to Scotland Campus Sports (PA).

Boya, whose game garnered the attention of Auburn, UNLV, and UCF  this summer, fills an immediate void in the middle for SCS.

The Class of 2019 Boya spent the past season finely-tuning a raw interior presence. More mature physically than other heavily-touted bigs in his class, Boya's Division-I stock increased at the same furious rate as his workaday improvement.

He soon labored his way into an interior banger, capable of sealing off the driving lanes against smaller lineups. The work ethic and coachable, teachable spirit growing within Boya have been vital factors in the behemoth's quick development.

Youtube clips of Boya's workouts in Cameroon several years ago can be quite deceiving. That footage depicts an entirely different player than the athletic, floors-changing, shot-blocking, shot-manipulating product you currently have. It can't be overstated how far Boya has come in a short period.

Few in Bradley's history have committed to the program two years early. Boya, as his coaches explained, is still not a finished product.

 Like 6-foot-11 Koch Bar and 6-foot-3 guard Jayden Hodgson before him, Boya competed in the prospect-packed SIAA conference in Florida before deciding on Bradley.

At Scotland Campus Sports, under the legendary prep coach Chris Chaney, Boya will again entertain a schedule rife with prep superpowers.

Scotland Campus Sports will compete on the now prestigious Grind Session, featuring handfuls of the country's upper echelon programs and various post-graduate programs.

"I would attribute Ari's rise as a recruit and status as a young man rapidly learning the game to hard work and a very consistent devotion to his craft," explained Shaun Wiseman, who coached Boya at The Conrad School in Orlando.

"He's actually a little taller than Koch (Bar) and has an even greater wingspan. During this stage in Ari's development, I would say he's defensively a bit further along than Koch was when I coached him Arlington Country Day. Ari's day-to-day improvement, from the time he arrived in Orlando to the skill level he's currently at, has been impressive. He can really eat up space inside defensively and change a lot of shots as a long defensive presence."

With Conrad spurred by a guard-centric offense with Luguentz Dort, David Sloan, and Malcolm Farrington, Boya was typically a fourth or fifth offensive option.

A majority of his points came via putbacks, point-blank finishes, and buckets in the open court.

Boya was initially groomed as a low-scoring big impacting the game on the glass and defensively. His niche quickly changed mid-way through the season, as Boya lifted those limitations on his offensive game. He soon developed a nose for the rim, applying needed upfront toughness. A scoring mentality was discovered.

Working thoroughly with assistant coach Johann Mpondo, a former bruising Wright State forward, Boya incorporated a post game and a short-range jumper. Orlando skill development guru Brad Traina helped cultivate Boya's all-around skill set, simultaneously transforming his body and helping him pack on muscle.

"He's going to give Scotland Campus an immediate boost in the trenches," said Wiseman.

"He definitely has the overall potential to be a great get for Bradley. Being a recruit who was overlooked and just starting to generate looks from the big boys out there, there's a lot of promise in  Ari. He's a different kid because of his work ethic. The way he prioritizes everything and works diligently at his game, you don't see that from most kids at this level."

Wiseman continued, "When he translates to college, there's going to be those distractions and transitions every incoming freshman is faced with. He's all business, so none of it is going to matter. For Ari, it's clear the most important thing to him is going to be his academics and becoming a better basketball player. He's got that 'want it' factor.'"

Boya's offensive development was evidenced during a double-digit win against Potter's House back on Feb.7. During this memorable performance, Boya scored 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting.

He was on constant aerial watch throughout the second half, converting a pair of high lob passes from Dort into emphatic and authoritative dunks.

Possessing enough athleticism to put his head on the rim and adept enough to turn a wide left or risky lob pass into a bucket, Boya solidified his scoring aptitude. He also worked his way from relatively quiet to a high-percentage threat.

"He's very bouncy, which is almost rare for a guy his size," Wiseman said.

"He can hang around the rim become a threat to score every time he gets a touch. That's how much his offensive engine has increased over the past year. He's got a vertical explosive aspect to him."

Even while rough around the edges as an inexperienced freshman in Cameroon, Boya lifted eyes as a baseline-to-baseline big. He wasn't fazed by the transition game, displaying fleet of foot. He improved drastically with his footwork and handwork as a sophomore, becoming a reliable source in the catch-and-finish game and struggling early in the season.

The chemistry Boya established with hard-attacking guard Luguentz Dort, who frequently found him for lobs and open interior looks, involved him more as an offensive presence.

"Ari is a high-major athlete with huge potential," explained Traina, an integral source in polishing Boya's handle and ingraining an arsenal of post moves in him.

"He's an elite level rim protector. As he continues to develop his feel for the game, he's a future pro."

Boya was originally projected to be a major piece in the wild infusion of transfer talent at Calusa Prep in Miami.

Calusa's head honchos evoked a significant transfer package.  Dort, Boya, and 6-foot-8 mid-major prospect Madiaw Niang all wound up at Calusa Prep.

At the time, Calusa's upper hand on the SIAA conference seemed undeniable for the 2017-18 campaign.

Not so fast.

The would-be warhorse triumvirate of Dort-Boya-Niang never played an actual. official game for Calusa Prep.  Their stay was short-lived. The plot fizzled with all three darting for more established basketball breeding grounds.

Dort, a hotly-pursued five star recruit--he recently whittled his list down to Baylor, Oregon, Miami, Arizona State, Michigan State, and Indiana)--has transferred to Athletes Institute in his homeland of Canada.

Niang, who is beginning to pick up Division-I offers, has since transferred to SIAA opponent DME Academy in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Former Calusa coach Derrick De La Grana--a widely-respected Miami area hoops pioneer and rugged point guard in his heyday--has taken the head coaching position at nearby Immaculata La Salle High School.

Boya will add to the international flavor at Scotland Campus Sports. The program also features a burgeoning mid-major prospect in Joel Ntambwe of the Congo. Ntambwe was recently offered by Rhode Island and UNLV. They will return Lawrence Slim, a 6-foot-7 forward who played for the U-18 National Team in the Netherlands.

Boya said he became serious about basketball when rummaging through highlight films of Hakeem Olajuwon and Anthony Davis. Focusing on their styles and taking note of their moves, it all sparked a new motivation in the then-freshman. Boya soon found his way to America, forging a niche on the Indiana Elite AAU program under Mark Adams.

"I've been fortunate enough to have coached big men like Hassan Whiteside, Jordan Hill, Joey Dorsey, and Magnum Rolle," said Chaney, who has won three Maryland State Championships and three National Prep championships.

"Those guys were under the radar prospects when we got them and they really bought in 100 percent. Getting Ari Boya is a plus for our program. Of course, we're looking for the same type of skill development and preaching a similar concept in teaching our bigs just how hard they have to play and how hard they have to run the floor to thrive in our system."

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Duke Offer Makes Sense For Little

Duke is the latest program to offer multi-positional threat Nassir Little. The explosive 6-foot-7, 210-pound Class of 2018 wing may be the nation's top unsigned prospect.  It's been quite the progression for a kid regarded as unsung and undervalued back in February.

A highly efficient wing player who many liken to Kawhi Leonard, Little's all-around skill set has catapulted him to must-have status. Little is the multi-tooled type of recruit fully capable of altering the culture of a program in instant fashion.

 After shooting a thread under 60 percent from the field and over 50 percent beyond the arc in leading Orlando Christian Prep to a 2017 state championship, Little has become the country's most heavily pursued recruit.

"Having Duke offer is an awesome feeling to see this happen to a kid, but it has special meaning because four years ago Nas just wanted one Division-1 offer," said Brad Augustine of 1 Family Hoops.

"Being offered by Duke, it's a great acknowledgement of the level Nassir has reached based off his work. I think all this does for the kid is solidify the effectiveness of the process."

 Augustine cites Little as the hardest working kid he's seen in recent memory. He referred to Little's support system as vital ingredients in his eruption of success.

Coach Daryl Hardin, Little's 17U coach  (who Augustine described as one of the nation's premiere grass-roots coaches), cultivated a hyper-efficient and crafty wing presence in Little.

 Hardin kept Little engaged, holding him to a high-standard.

Randy Hadley of RH Fit Pro, instrumental in transforming Little's body and readying him for the wear and tear of a summer on massive stages, also deserves credit.

Duke assistant Nate James, a key backcourt piece in the memorable Jay Williams and Mike Dunleavy-led teams of the early 2000s, was the leading man in the process.

"Coach K and coach James see Nas as an impact guy on the wing, a more efficient Justice Winslow and an ultra-athletic caliber player," Augustine said.

"We're very happy. Truth be told I don't think it does anything more for his situation at this point. With Nas, the main focus is going to be on continuing to train, continuing to get better, the summer is over and he's going to start locking in some visits."

While Duke and North Carolina have cemented Little's status as a prized recruit, he has piled together quite the variety of options.

"Sean Miller has done a phenomenal job recruiting Nas, selling him on being a dominant wing player at Arizona," Augustine said.

"It cannot be overstated how well Jim Larranaga at Miami has been recruiting him to be an efficiency guy, a high-level wing filling in the shoes of a Bruce Brown. Chris Mullin at St.John's, he continues to be a big presence in helping Nas understand he can be the savior of the program, which has gotten tremendously better this off-season. Of course there is the opportunity of playing in Madison Square Garden. Now with Coach K and Roy, they are who they are. You don't need to sell much with those two."

Little, who holds a 4.6 GPA, will return for his senior season at OCP a marked man.

He'll return as the go-to guy for the defending state champs, a versatile scorer and menacing shot blocker who possesses prodigious vertical leaping and finishing ability.

The OCP program is anticipating higher profile events and perhaps some televised events.

While his coaches congratulated Little on the Duke offer, they reminded him the road ahead does not get much easier.

Little is slated for a matchup against beast amongst boys Zion Williamson and Spartanburg (SC) in the annual City of Palms tournament next winter.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rhode Island, UNLV The Latest To Offer Ntambwe

Rhode Island and UNLV have recently offered 6-foot-8, 205-pound Joel Ntambwe.

A multi-layered Class of 2018 prospect, Ntambwe will play his senior year at Scotland Campus Sports in Scotland, Pa.

Rhode Island assistant Tom Moore and head coach Dan Hurley have been intrigued with Ntambwe, who has the potential to be a jack of all trades at that level.

UNLV assistant Andre Lafleur, who recruited countless hybrid forwards of Ntambwe's type under Jim Calhoun at UConn, envisions a unique threat.

Providence, Arkansas, Tennessee, Wichita State, Wake Forest, and a handful of others are vying for Ntambwe's services.

"For Joel, it is really a matter of more reps, because the talent is certainly there," said Rens Executive Director Andy Borman, instrumental in the development of prized recruits such as Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky), Rawle Alkins (Arizona), Jordan Tucker (Duke), and Jose Alvarado (Georgia Tech).

"I think the biggest thing he can present is the opportunity to be multi-positional. Versatility is king. I think Joel can be a Justice Winslow type of recruit where he has to ask himself, ' Am I a guard? Am I forward? It doesn't even matter because I'm kicking your butt out there.' I mean Winslow, he even played some center for the Miami Heat. It is hard to define it in one role. If I was recruiting Joel, that's the way I would look at it. The kid could eventually become a matchup nightmare."

Ntambwe said the major adjustments in his improvement have been gaining muscle, scoring at all three levels, snaring rebounds, and scoring hustle points.

"Last year, the main thing was confronting the fact that I just wasn't very strong at first," explained Ntambwe.

"My trainers pushed me in the weight room non-stop. They helped me on my upper body strength. I was able to increase my strength and footwork and continue to work away at ball handling and my shooting touch."

Investing more focus into his mid-range game while simultaneously turning his outside shot from a work in progress to a reliable tool have been equally critical for Ntambwe.

"Right now, I don't classify myself as one position," Ntambwe said. "I like to think I can play every position and bring that mentality with me when I'm on the court. I like to be the 'Mr. Everything type."

Ntambwe morphed into Mr. Everything on the smurf-small court at Our Lady of Mercy in Port Chester this past spring. In the historic CYP tournament, Ntambwe scored 22 points and left his fingerprints on virtually every category of the stat book.

Just three years ago, Ntambwe was making personal YouTube videos of his daily workouts. It was all in effort to attract prep school coaches in the U.S. and earn a scholarship opportunity. Now he's making the game a livelihood.

Another program which has recently become involved with Ntambwe is Iona. The New Rochelle campus is located just 20 minutes from where Ntambwe lives with his host family.

Gaels Associate Head Coach Jared Grasso, widely regarded as one of the top mid-major recruiters in the country, has been consistent. Providence has been in pursuit from the very beginning, with Ed Cooley impressed with the way Ntambwe sees the floor and passes.

"With Joel you've got a kid who has a skill set that's very high," said Iona Prep head coach Steve Alvarado, who coached Ntambwe throughout the summer.

"He can go to either side, he's got pretty good vision when he handles the ball. When he rebounds the ball effectively he can bust out of the pack and that puts tremendous pressure on the defense. Really, it's up to him if he's going to be an ACC level recruit. If he puts the work in and gets strong enough, it can be done. At Scotland Campus, he's going to be held accountable. If he takes to it, which I think he will because he's immersed in it, he's going to explode.

Borman said that this year will be a considerable barometer of what level Ntambwe's game is tailor made for.

"It helps that he's going to play in Scotland for a guy like Chris Chaney who really knows what he's doing," Borman said.

"It's going to be a matter of tuning him up and getting him ready made for the collegiate level."

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Boya Adds To Bradley Frontline

Growing up in Cameroon, Aristide "Ari" Boya found the basketball culture to be rather disappointing. Just assembling a competitive full five on five game seemed like an arduous task at times.

At a well-built 7-foot-1 and possessing freak-esque athleticism, Boya feasted on subpar competition.

 Few of Boya's friends and teammates mirrored his innate passion, grittiness and competitive juices for the game.

As a high school freshman, Boya was nearly always the tallest player on the court.

The 'got it' factor was there, as Boya contained the strength, fleet of foot, and above the rim game which left many in awe.

There was one glaring issue. The lack of a respectable court on which Boya could fully utilize such attributes.

 Without a hardwood home in America, he would never be the menacing shot-blocker he now is.

And so Boya worried he would never find the right opportunity to pursue his craft, forever squandering talent.

 The fear of essentially wallowing under wistful thoughts of what could have been set in.

 Rather than stress or sulk, Boya found a different approach.

Studying Youtube film of Shaq, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Anthony Davis daily,  Boya soon plotted methods to get into the United States.

He began creating his own videos and sending them out to coaches all across the world's most competitive basketball country, hoping to land a scholarship at a high school or traditionally potent prep school which actively pursued international players.

He eventually discovered an opportunity for citizenship and a roster spot with the Indiana Elite in AAU.

 It was the first chapter in the fulfillment of the sinewy and agile Center's dreams.

At the start of Boya's first-ever varsity basketball experience in the United States, Boya earned starter's minutes at Center at The Conrad Academy (Orlando, FL). He scored his first two points during a win against Oldsmar Christian (FL) at the SIAA Veteran's Day Tournament at The Rock School in Gainesville,  Fla., dropping in an uncontested layup off a high lob pass.

Though a fourth and fifth option in a guard-centric offense at Conrad, Boya slowly became a consistent scorer.

He pieced together a memorable 16-point effort against Potter's House, hitting 7-of-8 field goals and displaying adept finishing ability at and above the rim.

Earlier during the year, Boya erupted with a 25-point, 17-rebound performance during a thorough 100-31 slaying of Agape Christian.

Playing on the prestigious Grind Session, Boya found himself guarding  Hillcrest Prep (Az.) Center DeAndre Ayton (the no.1 ranked player in the country, now at Arizona). He was frequently crunching home high-arching lob passes from Luguentz Dort, scoring around the rim with relative ease. The level of play that had been lacking so sorely back home was now maximized, on some of the grandest stages the American prep scene had to offer.

This past week, Boya committed to Bradley University.

Boya's relationship with assistant coach Drew Adams was a major component that solidified his decision. Adams' father, Mark Adams, operates a non-profit which helps student-athletes such as Boya fulfill their dreams of a college basketball scholarship.

Central Florida and Texas Tech had also expressed interest in the Class of 2019 forward, seeing him play but never offering a scholarship.

"It felt like the best place for me, there was no issues with it all," said Boya, who most recently played at Calusa Prep in Miami.

"I liked everything about the campus, the team, and how close-knit the environment was. I've wanted this for a long time for my life. Now that it is here, I am just going to keep working. It is good to finally have the decision made. I am very grateful for this situation."

Boya's ability to run the floor and finish in transition garnered notice during the fall. His methodical capabilities in being able to manipulate, influence, block, and alter the trajectory of shots in the paint named him to the Super 5 of the 2016 Dodge Florida Shootout in St. Petersburg.

From there, he worked at becoming more of an offensive force and polishing up facets such as his handwork and footwork.

Boya enters a roster that has plenty of international flavor, including a similar threat in 6-foot-10 forward Koch Bar of the South Sudan. Alongside the flashy, high-rising Corey Sanders (now at Rutgers), Bar won a state championship at West Oaks Academy in Orlando as a junior under Shaun Wiseman.

He later went with Wiseman to Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville as a senior, entertaining a national schedule.

Wiseman, who additionally coached Bradley guard Jayden Hodgson at ACD, helped nurture Boya's development at the aforementioned Conrad Academy.

"It is a great to find the right decision, the best thing I can do is keep working harder," Boya said.

"My coaches have spoken with me about how much more of a work ethic you need to survive in college, because in high school some people can survive strictly off talent. In college, there has to be an around the clock commitment and having the decision made only motivates me to work harder these next couple of seasons."

Part of that hard work will involve expanding his overall skill-set.

Boya was strictly a post presence his first year at Conrad, supplying hustle points with dunks, putbacks, and point-blank buckets. He's opened up a dependable 16-20 footer. He's shooting 3-pointers for the first time in his life, developing a steady form and taking bigs away from the rim. Boya said the next step in his development is incorporating a bag of tricks with his post move, beating defenders with deceptive and crafty moves.

"Oh yeah, that's coming along right now," he said.

"Just wait."