Under normal circumstances, Kylan Boswell should prepare for his final season of high school basketball, a season he hoped to culminate with a national championship and some All-American honors.
Team titles and personal accolades are still possible next year, but now they would be at the collegiate level. And they will force him back to his old form after undergoing foot surgery over the summer.
“I felt like I made the smartest choice, for sure,” Boswell said of his decision to reclassify, graduate from high school a year early, and enroll in Arizona at the age of 17. “It took me a minute to get over the fact that all those days were in the gym, working for high school, McDonald’s (All-American), Jordan Brand (Classic) and stuff like that. It was really just (about) long term situations. Sacrifice for something greater in the future.
Boswell, who guided Phoenix’s AZ Compass Prep to the GEICO High School Nationals earlier this year, said he injured his right foot during the second session of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in April, and that he was diagnosed with a stress fracture shortly thereafter. Once surgery was deemed necessary, the process began so he could reclassify out of the recruiting class of 2023 – where he was ranked the No. 4 playmaker in the nation – until 2022.
He said his family had found an online program that would allow him to graduate a year earlier. He had to take several classes in June in order to meet the reclassification deadlines, but because of his injury, Boswell had a lot of free time.
“We really couldn’t do anything with my foot, so we just had to let it rest,” he said. “But academics that month were very difficult.”
By reclassifying and thus joining Arizona over the summer, Boswell was able to do most of his rehabilitation with the Wildcats’ training and medical staff. He credits the head basketball coach Justin Kokoskie and strength coach round chris to get him to where he thinks he is ahead of his recovery.
“Rehab here, I don’t feel like I could have had it anywhere else,” he said. “So I would definitely take that over anything else.”
When news of the injury broke in August, the UA coach Tommy Lloyd gave the impression Boswell could not play until the middle of the 2022-23 season. That timeline could end up accelerating, depending on how Boswell’s recovery progresses, although he’s not ready to make any promises.
“I don’t want to give dates and stuff yet,” Boswell said. “I mean, sure, there are goals, but we’re not really sure. So far so good, I’m back a little sooner than I thought too which is good. I have the right to progress more and more every day. Right now, I’ve just gotten back to the stuff on the pitch. I just got cleared to jump on my foot. That’s basically how I feel, if I’m confident and stuff like that, but (there’s) no real timestamp.
In all honesty, Arizona doesn’t have need Boswell in 2022-23 with the return of the starting point guard Kerr Kriisa and the addition of Texas graduate transfer Courtney Ramey. When Boswell committed to the AU in February he did so knowing that by the time he joined the team for the 2023-24 season, all of the ballhandlers on the current roster might be gone.
Now that everything has changed, so has his approach to his freshman college season.
“I feel like the way I play can adapt to anyone, really,” he said. “So I felt like it didn’t matter who was in the team or not. I really like this group, and I feel like we can do something special. Right now I’m trying to reduce chemistry and everything, but I feel like my game could play with anyone on the team.
Boswell said he was able to watch Kriisa and Ramey training which gave him insight into their tendencies.
“I can know what to apply in my game and help them too,” he said. “They’ve been in the weight room, good friends, good guys. They’re good leaders that I look up to, who shape some things from them to my game. Overall, Kerr and Courtney are just good people.
Although he can’t train yet, Boswell said his past experience with Lloyd’s system — he used it in eighth grade, he said — will help with the learning curve. Ironically, when he started being recruited by Lloyd between his sophomore season and his junior season, when Boswell was still playing in California and Lloyd had yet to coach a game, he had no idea what type of offense that his future coach would use.
“When I first spoke to Tommy I didn’t really know who he was and what his philosophies were, I just liked how he was, I can tell he was a good person,” Boswell said. . “And then now looking back, from that last year of my sophomore year and committing my freshman year, I really wanted to come because I recognized that type of offense and played it in the past. It definitely influenced me.
The 6-foot-2 Boswell is listed at 195 pounds on Arizona’s online roster, but he said his goal is to play between 205 and 210 pounds (while maintaining just 5-6 percent body fat) . It’s a bit stockier for a player of his size, but he said that’s always been the case for him.
“I feel like my Samoan side has always been part of my game, just being a bit thicker and stronger,” he said. “I never tried to take that away, that’s who I am as a player, but just trying to stay fit is the goal.”