Enoch Boakye has been one of the nation’s top recruits for a while now, but it wasn’t until he de-committed from Michigan State that his popularity began to soar.
The 6-10, 240-pound center out of Canada decided to explore his options on Monday when it was reported by multiple outlets that he would be opting out of his decision to join the Spartans. In less than 24 hours, Boakye has become the talk of the basketball recruiting world.
Kentucky was listed as one of the several schools he plans to look at during his second round of recruitment. The Wildcat coaching staff showed some interest before Boakye picked MSU back in July, but never made a serious run at one of the best players in Canada. Now that a premier big man is back on the market, UK could wiggle its way back into the fold.
Ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 20 player in the class of 2022 and the No. 4 center, Boakye has aspirations to be a one-and-done college player.
“One of his [Boakye’s] main goals is to get to the NBA and to star in his freshman year,” Boakye’s head coach George Aramide told KSR. “He just wants to go to a place where he has opportunity to compete, to play right away.”
George Aramide is the President and founder of George Harris Prep Academy located up in Ontario, Canada. He’s also the basketball team’s head coach and has been mentoring Boakye for roughly seven years now. Aramide has been helping handle the overload of emails, phone calls, and text messages that Boakye has received ever since his decision went public Monday morning.
“The last few days have been pretty crazy,” Aramide added. “I’ve had about 150 calls yesterday alone. It’s been definitely a whirlwind.”
Colleges from across the country have been constantly reaching out, including the likes of Maryland, Wake Forest, UCLA, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Washington, and Washington State, among others. When Boakye initially de-committed from Michigan State, he reportedly listed Duke, Arizona, Baylor, Texas Tech, USC, Texas, Gonzaga, UNLV, Arizona State, and Kentucky as his perceived finalists.
The Wildcats, however, haven’t been chomping at the bit to make a hard run for Boakye, according to Aramide.
“Coach Joel [Justus] reached out, but with Kentucky… they take their time with it.
“We’ve had one conversation since that time and other schools have called 10, 12, 13 times. In terms of interest level I’m not sure where they stand. I know they are interested and I know they got a lot going on in Kentucky right now, they’re not doing too, too well, so I’m sure there’s a lot of pressure. They haven’t reached out as much as we would like.”
While UK has reached out, it’s nothing compared to other programs across the country.
“Everyone else has called at least five or six times since it broke two days ago.”
Despite the seemingly endless amount of coaches reaching out to Aramide and Boakye, the high school junior is taking it all in stride. He’s not used to having this much spotlight on him, but it’s been a thrilling experience.
“He’s not overwhelmed–he’s happy about it. Him being a humble kid, he called me and was like ‘Coach I can’t believe this is such a big deal’. He thought things would kind of play out quietly and find a school and go in quietly. He’s super happy, super excited, super appreciative that he’s getting that attention.”
Wherever he does end up, the fame won’t go away. Whether that ends up being next season or two years from now is still up in the air. While Aramide and Boakye are hoping for a relatively short process this time around, they don’t have a set timeline in mind. Aramide said there have been talks about Boakye reclassifying to 2021–and he would expect more involvement from Kentucky if that were to be the case.
“Right now we’re in the midst of deciding if we’re going to reclass or not. If he does reclass, that means he has to be on campus somewhere this summer. So that would speed up the process big time. We’re still in that deciding stage of what we’re going to do. If we did reclass, I’m pretty sure Kentucky would definitely ramp-up that recruiting process.”
From Aramide’s own words, Kentucky appears to meet the criteria that he and Boakye are looking for in a college team.
“To be honest, I just want him to go to a place where he’s loved. That’s the biggest thing–I want him to be loved. I want him to go to a program where he’ll get an opportunity to play right away, get a good education, and get to the goal that everyone thinks he can get, which is the NBA.
“When we look at schools we don’t look at the wins and losses column, because it’s his job to come in and impact winning. If you’re a five-star recruit, a game-changer, it doesn’t matter what their record is the season before, you’re going to come in and dominate your position and help win games. We don’t really look at the win/loss column, we just want an opportunity for a coach to play him as a freshman. I think that’s the most important thing. He’s not afraid to compete, he’s not afraid to come in and earn his spot but at the same time, we’re looking for a coach that has a reputation playing freshmen.”
Social media critics were quick to point out Boakye’s decision to leave Michigan State, using it as an example as to why he might be afraid of competition. In reality, that doesn’t appear to be the truth. If he were to reclassify and join UK, Boakye would potentially battle players such as freshman Daimion Collins, transfer Oscar Tshiebwe, and sophomore Lance Ware in practice for starter minutes.
Even in a down year for the Wildcats program, Aramide knows the upside that Boakye possesses and how he could impact the Wildcats going forward. The head coach wants his star player’s game and personality showcased to the world.
“I just want him to be known as the humble giant, because not a lot of people know who he is personally. They see his game, but they don’t really know who he is as a person.”