"I was sitting right in that chair when I found out," Boatright said from a South Bend hotel Friday evening.
Right before dinnertime on Jan. 13, 2012, the NCAA informed UConn that Boatright's eligibility, which had been reviewed in November, needed further investigation. He would end up missing three games in January (nine for the season), and the constant in-and-out, he admits, affected him.
Today, from the same hotel about 130 miles from his Aurora, Ill. home, Boatright is in "a good place," as UConn coach Kevin Ollie put it. A place where he can joke about last year's misfortune.
"I'm real nervous," Boatright said with a laugh. "We were just talking about it in the elevator and were like `man, this is the time I found out I wasn't playing last year,' so it's all good prayers going up right now."
Boatright and fellow guard Shabazz Napier have been on a tear of late. On Saturday, they get another big-time backcourt -- perhaps the best they've faced all year -- when Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant put Notre Dame's 12-game winning streak on the line (2 p.m., SNY).
"I don't feel there's any backcourt better than (Grant and Atkins)," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey. "They're as good as any of them out there with the way they've been playing."
Together, Grant and Atkins average 23.9 points and 12.6 assists per game, often facilitating for leading scorer Jack Cooley, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound bull on the low-block.
"Their pick-and-roll offense is one of the best in America," Ollie said. "They pass the ball well. They have shooters all around the perimeter. We're going to have to have our defensive principles intact and play through the possession."
Conversely, Notre Dame (14-1) must deal with Boatright and Napier, both of whom are peaking as the Big East grind begins. Napier, a threat to hit 25 on some nights or toy with a triple-double on others, is UConn's leading scorer (17.4 points) and, believe it or not, top rebounder (4.5). Meanwhile, Boatright is red-hot from the field, shooting 58 percent in his past six games.
"You always get the one Boatright where he's got to go `and 1,' but I give him leeway for that if he's shooting 58 percent," Ollie said. "He's been doing a great job of getting to his spots, pushing the ball and getting to the rim. His defensive pressure has allowed him to get those layups."
With UConn outmanned up front against Cooley, Boatright and Napier will likely have to win the battle of the guards for the Huskies (11-3) to upset the No. 17 Irish.
"It's a great matchup," Brey said. "(Boatright and Napier) are really good, and I think our guys love those challenges."
Boatright simply loves an uninterrupted season. Neither of his two "homecomings" have gone well: He had to leave dinner before the Notre Dame game a year ago because he was so frustrated with the repeat NCAA review. And in UConn's Big East opener at Marquette -- even closer to his hometown -- Golden Eagles guard Junior Coudagan, a 16.7 percent 3-point shooter, one-upped Boatright with an overtime-forcing fallaway at the buzzer. Perhaps the third time will indeed be the charm.
"I'm excited," Boatright said. "It's a good test for us. If we can pull this out, we know everything we've been working for is coming along."