By LARRY VAUGHT
There might not be a player better prepared to deal with the whole scope of Kentucky basketball than guard Brandon “BJ” Boston.
He left his Georgia high school this season to play at Sierra Canyon, a high profile prep school in California. He’s on a team loaded with talent, which obviously will hep get him accustomed to the stars he will have with him at UK in the nation’s top-ranked 2020 recruiting class.
Boston is a top 10 player in the 2020 recruiting class but UK signees Terrence Clarke and Devin Askew have both seemed to get more attention than him. However Rivals.com recruiting writer Krysten Peek says not to question Boston’s skill level.
“BJ is the diamond in the rough in this recruiting class,” Peek said. “He’s in LA playing with the best team on the west coast and it will be a crazy season but he will be the star of the show.
“He is sneaky good off the bounce. His shot mechanics are amazing. He’s 6-6 with long arms and can defend the 1, 2 or 3. He’s a very quiet kid and has to warm up to you but he’ll be a great teammate.
“He’s locked and loaded on being ready for UK. He is in the gym every day with his dad. He’s a true gym rat who has his eye on the prize at UK.”
A lot of eyes will be on him, too. Peek said NBA scouts are intrigued by Sierra Canyon and the team has games on ESPN this season.
“That’s why moving out there was more of a business thing. Exposure is everything and he’s got everything you want to be a great player. He’ll fit in great at Kentucky and now he’s getting all the off-court things to help get him ready for the spotlight that will be even bigger at UK.”
His team took a 12-day trip to China in September because coach Andre Chevalier felt it would not only expose players to eating different foods and meeting different people but would expose them to the culture in China since one Sierra Canyon player is from China.
“It was a life-changing trip for the kids. China is such a huge market for basketball player and business. It was good for them to experience that, “ Chevalier said. “You never know how many of these kids might end up playing one day in foreign countries so this might help prepare them for that.”
The team will play games in eight different states, something Boston’s former high school team in Georgia could never have done. Chevalier says that helps elite players learn how to cope with travel surprises and “getting their bodies prepared to play no matter the circumstances” on the trip.
“That makes it easier for them to know what to expect at the next level,” the coach said.
Sierra Canyon also had its own Midnight Madness along with a media day that included four weeks of media training for the players before the LA area media got to interview them.
“We want our kids to experience as close to what D1 will be like as possible,” Chevalier said. “We thought Midnight Madness would let our school see how good this team is. The media day helps prepare the kids for what will happen at the next level so they won’t be surprised.
“We had a professional media person come in to tell them about how to interview, words to use or not use, how to use social media. Just small things to help them. On media day they got to practice what they learned in front of cameras and Brandon certainly needs to know how to deal with the media where he’s going.”
Kentucky fans might get a chance to see the elite player perform if they go to Las Vegas to watch the Cats play Utah Dec. 18 and Ohio State Dec. 21 because Sierra Canyon is scheduled to play in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas the same week.
“That scheduling is definitely just a coincidence,” Chevalier said. “I didn’t even know that until just recently. We will see hopefully if we can watch them (Kentucky) play or if they could come watch us play, or Kentucky fans could, that would be really cool.”