Jake Boggs

Jake Boggs

MONROE

UNC-Wilmington carries a three-game winning streak into Sunday’s home game against Drexel (1 p.m. start), and Monroe’s Jake Boggs is among the reasons why the Seahawks are having a winning record this season (6-3).

Boggs, a lanky 6-foot-7, 190-pound sophomore small forward, has started eight of his team’s nine games this season and is averaging 11 ppg. His efficiency as a shooter stands out. Boggs is converting on 48% from 3-point range (12-of-25) and 53.2% overall (33-of-62) while also making 77.8% of his free throws. He’s made 17 of his last 19 attempts at the foul line.

A native of Monroe, Boggs is an example of how perseverance can pay off. He was a late bloomer physically. Listed at 6-foot-5 as a junior at Union Academy Charter School, Boggs has since grown two inches. He averaged a modest 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds as a junior at UA.

Boggs reclassified in 2017, and played two seasons at Carmel Christian in Charlotte. The extra year gave Boggs a chance to gain ground in his physical development, and it was enough to propel him into a Division 1 recruit. Not everyone was convinced, however. According to Boggs’ Twitter account, Wilmington was the only Division 1 school to offer him a scholarship.

The Seahawks are benefitting nicely from the decision to sign Boggs. He leads the Seahawks in 3-point percentage, ranks second in blocked shots (8) and fourth in rebounding (3.9 rpg).

He has scored at least 17 points in four of his team’s nine games this season, with a career-high of 25 points — on a highly-efficient 9-of-12 shooting from the field — against St. Andrews.

Boggs has made a big leap in his progression over the past year, based on his contribution to the Hawks. As a freshman at Wilmington, Boggs averaged 18.5 minutes of playing time while starting seven of 32 games. His playing time is up about 5 minutes per game this year (23.7 minutes per game), but his statistics are much improved. He’s more than doubled his scoring average (5.0 ppg as a freshman) and his field goal percentage has also climbed significantly (41.4% as a freshman).

Boggs obviously benefitted from his late growth spurt, but it’s also important to take note of his commitment. If he didn’t put in the work, and grow his game, the added height would have gone to waste.

Some players are dominant when they are young but they stop growing and developing. What came easy to them early got a lot harder, leading them to fizzle out and eventually give up. And then there’s those gym rats like Boggs, who refuse to accept mediocrity and keep pushing hard regardless of the odds.

Given how far he’s come in the last couple of years, it should be entertaining to watch what Boggs can do with the rest of his budding college career.