Throwback Thursday: Jeff Boschee

April 5, 2012

040512aab_925_7653338.jpegJeff Boschee (Men’s Basketball) 1998-2002
The former Mr. Basketball in the state of North Dakota made Lawrence and more specifically Allen Fieldhouse his home during the turn of the century. Boschee made an immediate impact his first season, being named Big 12 Freshman of the Year during for 1999-00. The Third Team All-Big 12 selection led his Jayhawks to the Final Four during his senior campaign (2002). Boschee went onto play professionally in Europe as well as the USBL and ABA before taking a seat on the bench as head basketball coach at The Barstow School in Kansas City. He now is an assistant with Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

When did you realize KU was where you wanted to go?
“I always said I liked Coach (Roy) Williams. He was one of the main reasons I chose to go there. I always liked his program and the way he treated his players. Coming down on a visit after I committed just made me feel more comfortable about my commitment to Kansas. It just kind of came up randomly one day. Coach Williams called my home and my brother happened to be at the house and he said, ‘you need to figure out what you’re going to do.’ I had narrowed it down to three schools: Kansas, Arizona and Minnesota. Coach Williams had lost out on some recruits the previous year, Baron Davis and Khalid El-Amin, and he said he wasn’t going to wait out on any kids this year. He said he was going to take the first kid that commits and deep down I knew I wanted to come to Kansas. It was just the process of actually doing it and saying yes. Finally, the next day I sat down with my brother and we talked it out. About 50 minutes after that, I called Coach Williams and told him I was coming.” 040512aab_925_7653341.jpeg

What is your favorite memory from your playing days at KU?
“There are so many of them, but you obviously have to pick the 2002 Final Four in Atlanta. Playing in front of 60,000 people is something that you can’t ever take away. It’s a memory that will forever be engraved in my mind and I am very thankful that I got to be a part of that.”

Would that Final Four game stick out the most in your mind?
“Probably, with it also being my last game ever played. I think that one probably hurts the most, but I think we were better than what we showed that night. The comeback we had and coming close to coming back was pretty special.”

Do you get the opportunity to keep in touch with many former teammates and coaches?
“A few here and there. Nick Bradford quite a bit because he’s down in my area, Brett Ballard and a few other guys like C.B. (McGrath), Jerod (Haase) and those guys over in Carolina.”

In your opinion, who is the best player that you played with or against during your time at Kansas?
“As far as playing with, it would probably be Drew (Gooden) and Nick (Collison). Playing against, I would have to say Kirk (Hinrich).”

You are in your second season at Missouri Southern State University as an assistant coach, what are some of your responsibilities?
“I’ve been involved in many different aspects (of the program). I am in charge of conditioning at the beginning of the year, but I also coach the offensive side of the basketball and implement plays as well as coming up with different offenses that we’re going to run throughout the year. That’s one of the good things about being at Missouri Southern with Coach (Robert) Corn, is that he lets the assistants do most of the coaching. He steps in when he feels he needs to. It’s a huge plus because I’m actually on the floor listening and watching the head coach do things. It’s been a big advantage for me.”

When did you decide coaching was something you wanted to pursue?
“I was playing overseas and I got burnt out on all the traveling and living out of a duffel bag. I just wanted to settle down and I knew when I was done playing that’s what I wanted to do. I started coaching seven years ago and it’s something I enjoy because I like working with kids. I enjoy learning different aspects of the game of basketball as well as the different philosophies. I enjoy the 040512aab_925_7653390.jpegoffensive side and the defensive side of things. It’s something that really intrigued me because I wanted to try to stay involved with the game of basketball. I don’t know anything different because I’ve been playing basketball since I was a little kid. It’s something I grew up with and it’s something I want to continue doing the rest of my life.”

Do you see yourself becoming a head coach down the road?
“That’s the ultimate goal. If there’s one thing I’m learning in this business it’s you have to be patient and pay your dues. Eventually, I think you get in this business to become a head coach and run your own program. You watch guys like Coach (Bill) Self, Coach (John) Calipari and Coach (Roy) Williams, and how they’ve worked their way up to run successful programs. That’s what you want to be like. If you’re not in this business to be a head coach, I don’t think you’re a very competitive person, so that’s the ultimate goal for me.”

How often do you get to follow KU while coaching your team?
“I try to watch them as many times as I can. On Monday nights we usually don’t have games, so I’ll catch them on ‘Big Mondays’. We usually play Wednesday and Saturday, just like them (KU), but you try to keep up as much as you can in the news. I try to watch them every time that I possibly can on TV. I’m really proud of what the guys did this year. It was an unbelievable effort, and an unbelievable team effort.”

Did you get a chance to go down to New Orleans for any of the Final Four?
“Yeah, I went to the game Saturday night (versus Ohio State). I got down there Saturday morning and we ended up leaving Sunday morning. I had been down there long enough and I wanted to get back to see my family, see my daughter and watch the (National Championship) game with them. It was good getting to see some of the former players, team managers and things like that.”

What is your impression of the coaching job Bill Self did this season?
“It was tremendous, the whole staff was. I’ve always thought Bill (Self) was one of the top, if not the top coach, in college basketball. For them to have a lot of people say they were going to have a rebuilding year, and do what they did, I’m still in awe about it. One of the things I like about Bill is he lets his kids play free offensively. Defensively, they really guard and they’re tough. He’s got a bunch of tough-minded kids and I think that’s a correlation of how the staff puts a team together and how they run their team. Bill’s done an unbelievable job since he’s been at Kansas.”040512aab_925_7653373.jpeg

Since you live in Missouri do people give you a hard time about being a Jayhawk?
“A little bit, Joplin is kind of mixed. You have quite a few KU fans up here. Missouri fans are loud and obnoxious and let it be known. Going through (Missouri) Southern here, you get a lot of grief from MU fans, but that’s something that will never change.”

How has basketball helped the town of Joplin after the tornado devastated the area last year?
“That was a tough situation because once it hit you can’t understand how you are ever going to get Joplin back to the way it used to be. Basketball brought the community together and it was a great opportunity for people to escape. We’ve provided a fun brand of basketball and started winning and in return, the people of Joplin and the surrounding communities have really embraced our team. It’s brought some people out together and done some good things. The Missouri game and Missouri State game last year, raised money for the tornado relief. That was huge for those two teams to come down and do something like that. I think the biggest thing is that the community has been very supportive of us. A lot of our guys went out after the tornado and helped clean up and do all sorts of things.”

How far has the town of Joplin come since that tornado hit last May?
“During the weeks and months after, you don’t understand how to rebuild. It’s something you’ve never fathomed or imagined, but the city has done a wonderful cleanup job. There has been rebuilding of a lot of the commercial real-estate and stores, but housing is slowly coming along. Another big part is the trees and vegetation because you still drive down 20th and 26th Streets and it looks like an open field with some abandoned houses. That’s going to take some time, but they’ve done an unbelievable job of getting the businesses around town back up and running.”

040512aab_925_7653016.jpegWhen did you decide you wanted to hold basketball clinics to help teach the game’s fundamentals to younger kids?
“That’s something I started when I went into coaching seven years ago. I had a basketball academy over in the Overland Park and Kansas City areas, where I was helping the youth, while having team and individual workouts. I never had a little brother when I was growing up and my (older) brother is the one that taught me about the game until I got to Kansas. I always looked up to him and I thought it would be fun to give a little of my knowledge of the game to younger kids, so that’s when I decided to do the summer camps. I got the idea from (head coach) Bob Chipman over at Washburn University because I saw the success he was having with them. It was a good opportunity for me and when you’re in a place to do something like that, I had to take full advantage of it.”

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