Nyan Boateng Interview
Nyan Boateng, a future NFL star, is a two-sport
high school superstar at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York. Having just
finished his junior year, the 17-year-old Boateng dominates at football, shows
up-and-coming skills at basketball, and has drawn realistic comparisons to the
NFL's Randy Moss. In football, he plays wide receiver and corner, plus he does
all his team's punting, kicking and kick returns. Boateng literally almost never
leaves the field, and he carried Lincoln to a perfect 10-0 regular season. In
basketball, as Sebastian Telfair's teammate and the team's second leading scorer,
Boateng helped Lincoln win yet another New York City PSAL basketball championship
- their third in a row, which has never been done in before in NYC. The kid is
insanely talented, and he's younger than almost everyone in his class. On July
1, 2004, InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner sat down with Nyan for an exclusive
(Jan. 15, 2005 update: Nyan will be attending the University of Florida. He announced this live on NBC during the second quarter of the 2005 US Army All-American Bowl in Texas. Now back to the July, 2004 interview:)
InsideHoops.com: Talk about how things have gone
over the last year.
Nyan Boateng: We had a great football season. We went 10-0, and unfortunately
lost in the semi-finals - we got upset, and I was upset about that, but, we were
proud of how far we came. Last year we only won like four games, and this year
we went undefeated and we were one of the best teams in the city. I'm definitely
proud of that. And as for basketball, we had some ups and downs, but we came back
and won the New York City championship. We were the first team in PSAL New York
history to win three consecutive championships. I got the chance to play with
Sebastian Telfair, Eugene Lawrence, Antonio Pena and all those guys. Right now,
I'm being heavily recruited by everybody in the country. Especially in May. May
was real hectic for me, my phone was ringing off the hook, my school, my cellphone,
my coach, my house and all that, but now it's over, and I'm nailing down my schools
and deciding where I'm going to go. Right now, the top schools that
I like are Maryland, Penn State, USC, Miami, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Michigan State.
Those guys, I like them a lot. Right now my favorite is Maryland. I like Maryland.
InsideHoops.com: And I know some schools have offered you basketball scholarships,
even though you're more focused on football.
Nyan Boateng: Yeah, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Syracuse and Florida have
offered me basketball scholarships.
InsideHoops.com: In general, what do you look for in a school, aside from
the obvious, a good or great team that you can majorly impact?
Nyan Boateng: I look for academic support, a school with a good business
and finance program, and the coaching staff, and the coach himself. I'm looking
for somebody that coached in the pros, that can definitely help me out and get
me ready for the next level.
InsideHoops.com: Once you get to college, how important is it to come in
and play right away? These schools basically know that you'll have an immediate
Nyan Boateng: In my workouts these days, I'm not really getting ready for
my high school senior year, right now I'm getting ready for my freshman year in
college. I'm even thinking about graduating early so I can go and participate
in spring ball, so I can get an early start. That's one of my goals, to play early.
I'll come in and play a major impact, in whatever program I join.
InsideHoops.com: Considering there have been rumors that you'd be one of
a handful of players that some NFL teams would draft right out of high school
if they could, I assume you were paying attention to the Maurice Clarette ruling?
Nyan Boateng: The Maurice Clarette ruling was very important to me. If
that rule would have fallen through, it would have been very good for kids, especially
kids like myself who have the ability to go to the next level. Not out of high
school - I don't think anybody should leave right out of high school. Go to
college for a year or two and if you have a chance to be a top pick, you should
InsideHoops.com: Talk about working out.
Nyan Boateng: I wanted to get stronger, and I've definitely done that over
the last two years, working out with weights. I've been working out hard every
day. And going to Parisi Speed School. So they're mentally and physically preparing
me, and I'm doing real good.
InsideHoops.com: Do you know your exact speed and jump?
Nyan Boateng: Yeah, right now I got a 45-inch vertical leap, and I run
a 4-4 flat, which is pretty good. Last year, I ran a 4-5.
InsideHoops.com: How do you decide on your exact training as far as football
vs. basketball? Can you combine the goals of the two types of training exactly how you'd like?
Nyan Boateng: Yeah, they're combined, because every time I finish lifting weights
I go to straight to the court and shoot some baskets. With basketball, there are
just certain things I work on, like my jump-shot and my handle, which is not that
much work, but football is more work. You have to be in shape all year, and I'm
kind of used to it, because I'm a two-sport star now. I play sports all year long.
I work out my football stuff in the morning and basketball stuff in the afternoon.
InsideHoops.com: Talk about some of the combines you were in, and what's coming up
this month with basketball.
Nyan Boateng: I was invited to the U.S. Army All-American camp, the combine,
the top 100 underclassmen players in the country. It was in San Antonio, Texas,
and I was the only player invited from the state of New York. And I went to the
Elite Combine, in Giants Stadium in New Jersey, the top players from Maryland,
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, it was definitely nice. I think I was the
best offensive player there. And back to basketball, right now I'm just getting
ready to go to the Adidas basketball camp in Atlanta, July 7-11. Been working
hard for that and I'm looking forward to it.
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Nyan Boateng Interview: Nov. 3, 2003
InsideHoops.com: Introduce yourself.
Nyan Boateng: I'm at Lincoln High School. I grew up in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
I've played for the Railsplitters basketball team for two years. We won a couple
of championships. And right now I'm trying to do that for football. My team is
undefeated right now, we're 9-0. It's a good feeling right now.
InsideHoops.com: Talk about basketball championships and your play.
Nyan Boateng: I've played two years on varsity for Lincoln - 9th and 10th
grade. Freshman year, we won that year - we fell short in the state championship
but we won the city. My sophomore year we won everything, we won the city and
we won the state.
InsideHoops.com: So you're just starting your junior year right now.
Nyan Boateng: Right now I'm getting ready to start my junior season for
basketball. Football we're undefeated at 9-0 and getting ready for the playoffs.
InsideHoops.com: The football team, you turned them around.
Nyan Boateng: We've turned everything around. We went from a 4-6 record
last year to 9-0. I think that's a big accomplishment.
InsideHoops.com: Back years ago when you were younger, how early did you
start playing football, how young were you?
Nyan Boateng: I played when I was about 11 years old. I started with this
little league team in the Pop Warner league called the Coney Island Sharks. Basically,
they get you started. They take any little kid on the street and teach them how
to play football, and just put you out there to play.
InsideHoops.com: So you were 11. When did you stop and start?
Nyan Boateng: I played when I was around 11 to 13. Then, when I was getting
ready to go to high school I just gave it up. Because I was living in Coney Island
at the time, and over there it's all basketball. But after I started going to
Lincoln, everyone just told me to come play football, saying I'd be a great asset
to the team. So I just went down and made it from there. I turned things around.
InsideHoops.com: In 9th grade what positions were you playing? They obviously
knew you were fast.
Nyan Boateng: When I went to high school, they already knew who I was.
Everyone in the city knew who I was. I was probably the best little football player
in the city. On the high school teams... when you play in Pop Warner they come
down to scout the kids, coming down from high schools, and they spotted me. I
even got a scholorship to go Poly Prep, a prep school. But I turned that down
to go to Lincoln and play with my brother, Dominic, he's at Fordam right now.
When I got to the school they knew I was a good wide receiver, and the coach just
told me to come on down.
InsideHoops.com: So, in 10th grade you joined the team.
Nyan Boateng: Yeah, so when I got to 10th grade, I went down, and the coach
that taught me how to play football, he came to the school and told me to play,
and I have great respect for him. So I went down and just started lifting a couple
of weights, and I just joined the team. Right there, they knew I could be a gamer.
Even my first game in high school I had two touchdowns for 150 yards.
InsideHoops.com: So you started at wide receiver, but went on to kicking,
too. How did they know you could kick?
Nyan Boateng: The guy that was kicking for the team at the time, he wasn't
that good. So I told the coach, "let me kick this, I can kick this, I guarantee
I can make a 40-yard field goal." He was like "alright, let me see." Then I kicked
it and made it. I became the team kicker.
InsideHoops.com: And now you're doing everything.
Nyan Boateng: I was a punter, the kicker, I kicked the extra points. Right
now I'm doing everything for my team. I'm playing corner, I'm playing wide receiver,
I'm punting, I'm kicking off, I'm doing everything for them.
InsideHoops.com: You barely leave the field.
Nyan Boateng: Yeah, actually, my team calls me the 48 Minute Man. I don't
come out of the game. I kickoff, kick-return, I'm the punter, I'm the wide receiver,
I'm the kicker, play corner, I never get off the field.
InsideHoops.com: When it comes to running, has your speed been measured?
Nyan Boateng: I've been to a couple of combines (where all the top players
go and they measure your speed, jump, etc.) and college coaches all come down
to see. It's a one-day thing, and when I was there, they tested my speed, and
I ran a four-four-one in a 40. And my vertical leap was 40 inches.
InsideHoops.com: I heard you have a new invite.
Nyan Boateng: Yeah, I recently got invited to this all-american camp, in
San Antonio, Texas. Basically, I have to go down there and compete against 300
kids, and if I impress them enough I'll be able to play in an all-american game
my senior year, in 2005.
InsideHoops.com: What's up with television networks following you around?
Nyan Boateng: Going into this season, my junior year, the YES network came
down and did a documentary on my football team. They followed us in the weight
room, when I was home, when I'd wake up they were there...
InsideHoops.com: So, like a reality show?
Nyan Boateng: Yeah. So, they basically wanted to see what football players
go through before the season starts. That's what we did. They followed us. And,
aside from that, recently ESPN came to my game. My team, my basketball team is
playing on ESPN December 4th. They're doing a little profile on me, so they came
to see how I play. They recorded a couple of games.
InsideHoops.com: So what's the future for you, what are your goals?
Nyan Boateng: Right now, my main goal is to stay healthy and going into
the playoffs I want to go out with a bang and win a championship, for football.
I got a couple of championships for basketball already. I think if I get this
one I'll feel like a complete high school player. I just have to get ready, mentally
focused, get ready for the basketball season too. So right now I'm just working
hard, on and off the court.
InsideHoops.com: Who do people compare you to right now, what famous athletes?
Someone told me Bo Jackson.
Nyan Boateng: Actually, people compare me to Randy Moss, of the Minnesota
Vikings. They say we have the same flair, the way we run our patterns. I think
that's great, man, I think he's one of the greatest football players in the world
right now. I think that's a great honor.