Big East Player to Watch: Ryan Boatright (UConn)

David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

UConn is mired in an unenviable situation, banned from postseason play and transitioning out of the Jim Calhoun era. But the Huskies won’t label 2012-13 a lost season.

A depleted roster and a rookie head coach leave plenty of room for team and player growth and Ryan Boatright has worked tirelessly this offseason to make the most of his sophomore season.

With eligibility issues relegating him to the sideline at the start of 2011-12, Boatright delivered upon being eligible, leading the Huskies past Florida State a day after blowing a 17-point lead against Central Florida. He had his bouts with turnovers and questionable decisions, but overall Boatright set a high ceiling for his development in college.

Tremendous athleticism and leaping ability compensate for Boatright’s lack of size and enable him to score in a variety of ways. He can get to the hoop and distribute the ball, but he also shot 37.7 percent from long range as a freshman.

Without Jeremy Lamb, Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi, Boatright will be asked to raise his 10.4 point per game average. Shabazz Napier, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot last week, is the veteran and will lead the way. But Kevin Ollie will need Boatright to complement the junior, taking up some of the point guard duties in addition to scoring the ball.

The reports say Boatright has worked hard to improve his game. Now all we can do is wait and see.

Follow Ari Kramer on Twitter to talk Big East and college basketball.

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