Under normal circumstances, Kylan Boswell should be preparing for his final season of high school basketball, one he hoped would culminate with a national championship and some All-American honors.
Team titles and personal accolades are still possible this next year, but now they’d be at the collegiate level. And they’ll require him to return to his old form after undergoing foot surgery over the summer.
“I felt like I made the smartest move, for sure,” Boswell said of his decision to reclassify, graduating a year early from high school and enrolling at Arizona as a 17-year-old. “It took me a minute to get over the fact that all those days in the gym, just working for the senior year high school stuff, McDonald’s (All-American), Jordan Brand (Classic), and stuff like that. It was really just (about) long-term situations. Sacrifice for something bigger 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, getting diagnosed with a stress fracture not long after. Once surgery was deemed necessary, the process began for being able to reclassify out of the 2023 recruiting class—where he was ranked as the No. 4 point guard in the country—to 2022.
He said his family found an online program that would enable him to graduate a year early. It required taking several classes in June in order to meet reclassification deadlines, but because of his injury Boswell had plenty of free time.
“We couldn’t really do anything with my foot so we just had to let it rest,” he said. “But the academics for that month were very difficult.”
By reclassifying, and thus joining Arizona over the summer, Boswell has been able to do the bulk of his rehab with the Wildcats’ training and medical staff. He credits head basketball trainer Justin Kokoskie and strength coach Chris Rounds with getting him to where he believes he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery.
“The rehab here, I don’t feel like I could have got it anywhere else,” he said. “So I would definitely take that over anything else.”
When news broke of the injury in August, UA coach Tommy Lloyd made it seem like Boswell wouldn’t be able to play until midway through the 2022-23 season. That timeline may end up getting accelerated, based on how Boswell’s recovery is going, though he’s not ready to make any promises.
“I don’t want to give out dates and stuff yet,” Boswell said. “I mean, of course there’s goals, but we’re not really sure. So far, it’s just been smooth sailing, I’m kind of back sooner than I thought it would be, too, which is nice.I’m allowed to progress more and more each day. Right now I’ve gotten back into just on-court stuff. I just recently got cleared to start jumping on my foot. It’s basically just how I feel, if I’m confident and stuff like that, but (there’s) not really a time stamp.”
In all fairness, Arizona doesn’t need Boswell in 2022-23 with the return of starting point guard Kerr Kriisa and the addition of Texas graduate transfer Courtney Ramey. When Boswell committed to the UA in February he did so with the understanding that by the time he joined the team for the 2023-24 season every ball handler on the current roster could be gone.
Now that everything has changed, so has his approach to his first college season.
“I feel like how I play can mold with anybody, really,” he said. “So I felt like it didn’t really matter who was on the team or not. I just really like this group, and I feel like we can do something special. Just right now trying to get the chemistry and stuff down, but I feel like my game could play with anyone on the team.”
Boswell said he’s gotten to watch Kriisa and Ramey practice, which has allowed him to pick up on their tendencies.
“I can know what to apply in my game and help them out, too,” he said. “They’ve been in the weight room, great friends, great guys. They’re good leaders for me to look up to, mold certain stuff from them to my game. Overall Kerr and Courtney are just good people.”
Though he can’t practice yet, Boswell said his past experience with Lloyd’s system—he ran it in eighth grade, he said—will help with the learning curve. Ironically, when he first started getting recruited by Lloyd between his sophomore and junior seasons, when Boswell was still playing in California and Lloyd had yet to coach a game, he had no idea what type of offense his future coach would use.
“When I first talked 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 watching, from that past year from my sophomore year and then committing my junior year, I definitely wanted to come because of recognizing this type of offense and playing it in the past. It definitely kind of influenced me.”
The 6-foot-2 Boswell is listed at 195 pounds on Arizona’s online roster, but he said his goal is to be playing at 205 to 210 pounds (while also maintaining only 5 to 6 percent body fat). That’s on the stockier side for a player of his height, but he said that’s always been the case for him.
“I feel like the Samoan side of me has always been a part of my game, just being a little bit thicker and stronger,” he said. “Never tried to take away from that, that’s who I am as a player, but just trying to stay in shape is the goal.”