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."