Evan Boudreaux's aggressive nature on the basketball court can be traced back to his first coach at age 2.
That mentor was Gail Koziara Boudreaux. His mother.
She was a Parade Magazine High School All-American who became Dartmouth's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Gail scored 1,933 points and grabbed 1,635 rebounds in 89 games to lead both the university's men's and women's basketball programs. For three consecutive seasons, she also was named Ivy Player of the Year, and became a two-time Academic All-American and third team All-American. Perhaps even more telling, she helped Dartmouth win its first-ever Ivy League crown in 1979.
“She taught me to crash the boards,” Boudreaux said of his mother’s tutelage. “She said if you go to the basket, good things will happen.”
The 6-foot-7 Boudreaux brought his aggressive style of play and rebounding skills to Lake Forest High School and good things did happen. Scouts coach Phil LaScala put him on the varsity team as a freshman and made him a starter. He leads the team in rebounds.
“He’s very good at going to the basket,” LaScala said. “He’s very aggressive. He plays aggressively on offense and defense. That’s what you have to do at the varsity level.”
Boudreaux, who is averaging just under seven rebounds a game according to LaScala, could play an important role as the Scouts start play today (Dec. 26) in the Hinsdale South Holiday Tournament in Darien. Lake Forest was slated to opn against Highland Park at 10 a.m. The Scouts are guaranteed to play four games.
Boudreaux is not the first freshman to crack the Scouts starting lineup. Two years ago, junior Carter Bass became a starter midway through his first season. LaScala believes Bass and the senior players have eased Boudreaux's adjustment to the varsity level.
“They’ve helped him a lot, especially Carter (Bass),” LaScala said. “Carter (Bass) has been there before and understands what it was like.”
Boudreaux credited the support and acceptance from his teammates as the major reason for success so early in his career. He began playing with most of the varsity players over the summer and they have grown together.
“This is awesome,” Boudreaux said of starting as a freshman. “The guys have really accepted me.”
Just a year ago, he was playing at Lake Forest Country Day School. The change has been dramatic.
“The guys are bigger and faster,” Boudreaux said. “If you can’t keep up and you aren’t aggressive, you won’t be in there (the game) long.”
Boudreaux gained a taste of varsity sports midway through the football season when quarterback Jordan Beck was lost for the last thre regular-season games with an injury. Boudreaux was playing with the Scout freshmen team, but got the call as a backup quarterback and regular punter because of injuries to Beck and Bo Dever, who suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier in the season.
Playing since fifth grade, Boudreaux had to learn a lot very quickly to make a contribution on the varsity for the Scouts. He also played quarterback for the first time in his life.
“I was always too big before,” he said, referring to junior football size limitations.
Basketball is Boudreaux’s first sports love, but the varsity experience on the gridiron has been a bonus on the basketball court.
“Definitely, it was a help,” LaScala said. “He learned what kind of a time commitment it takes (to be a varsity athlete). There is a lot you have to do.”
LaScala estimates varsity players must spend 10 hours a week more on their sport than underclassmen. “He’s adjusted well,” LaScala said.