He battled with a major injury, it kept him out for a really long time. James Bouknight was once a heralded prospect that was top-35 in the country, then he got hit with the injury bug.
After recovering, Bouknight returned to the circuit this summer and he didn’t let down. Putting up crazy numbers, literally crazy, and coaches started to catch on and realize “he didn’t lose a step.”
He had options like Miami, Indiana, Virginia Tech, among many others. But one school, one assistant, made Bouknight and his family feel really comfortable with a decision.
“While my recruitment was open, Coach Kimani [Young] was recruiting me while at Minnesota. He was really invested in me and made sure to keep contact. During my injury, schools began to stop showing interest and/or stop recruiting me. Coach Kimani didn’t, he made sure to stay in contact and made it clear that I was a top priority,” Bouknight said.
Then UConn made a program changing move, hiring Danny Hurley to become the programs 19th head coach in school history. It was his choice to bring who he wanted onto the staff at UConn.
One of the coaches Hurley brought on his staff? Kimani Young.
“When Coach Hurley took the Job at UConn, he called me soon after to make it clear that I have still have the scholarship and I’m their top priority. Than Coach Hurley brought Coach Kimani with him to UConn. I just felt that Coach Hurley’s experience in developing players and UConn track record of putting guys in the NBA was all I wanted in a school.”
As for others joining Bouknight at UConn, currently it’s Jalen Gaffney and Akok Akok. All three are top-100 prospects including Akok who’s currently ranked in the top-30 and will enroll at UConn in the coming weeks but will redshirt.
“Me and Jalen [Gaffney] being a backcourt will help complete each other’s games. We’re Both athletic guards who can shoot the ball and make plays. Than Akok a big who could spread the floor with his ability to shoot three’s and block shots with his athleticism. I feel that next year we’ll be a school that could complete with any program in the country,” Bouknight said on the 2019 class headed to Storrs.
As for the guy that basically completed UConn’s 2019 class, Akok Akok, Bouknight became closer and closer with him as Hurley and staff tried to land the 30th ranked prospect in the 2019 class. After weighing college and the NBA, Akok chose to go to UConn and will enroll early, the day after he announced that he attended UConn’s game with Bouknight.
“Akok is my guy. Whenever I talked to him we never really spoke about his recruitment. I just let him know that we could really be something special if he divided to make that move, and thankfully he did,” Bouknight said on Akok.
The expectations will be set very high for Bouknight and the Huskies, but where does he believe the bar will be set for them?
“Next year we just want to get UConn back to that final 4 / National Championship team. We want to be that school everyone want to watch.”
Now, Bouknight is currently dominating for Macduffie. Many believe that he is back to his old form and will be a hidden gem that UConn landed. “I feel that after my injury I came back stronger. My mindset changed and I feel I’m a player that can complete with any top guard in the country. I feel I am a top player in the 2019 class.”
This was the third #Signed story.
Here’s the updated list of players featured on #Signed:
– Syracuse signee Joe Girard III
– Mizzou signee Mario McKinney Jr
– UConn signee James Bouknight