James Bouknight has a calendar in his room he uses to mark off the days until he gets to UConn. Safe to say, the kid is excited to get to Storrs.

“Excited is not the word,” he corrected.

So, what is the word? Bouknight, a 6-foot-5 combo guard who committed to UConn on his birthday in September, pondered the question for a moment.

“I don’t know,” he finally responded, “I’m just so enthusiastic. I can’t wait to get there. I’m so anxious. Every day my coach tells me, ‘Just a few more days, a few more weeks.’”

That coach is Jacque Rivera, who coached Bouknight at The MacDuffie School up near Springfield, Massachusetts the past two seasons. Rivera is moving on to take over the reins at Woodstock Academy, just a short drive from UConn.

Bouknight will arrive at UConn on June 3. That’s exactly three weeks from Monday, but who’s counting?

Well, James Bouknight, for one.

“He’s gonna be an impact player from Day One,” Rivera promised. “He’s a throwback, the kind of dynamic guard they’re used to having. And he’s used to being coached. I don’t think being coached hard is gonna be an issue for him.”

Indeed, Bouknight welcomes the challenge of being pushed by an energetic type like Dan Hurley.

“Playing for Coach Hurley is gonna be a whole lot of fun,” he said. “His energy matches mine. Coach Jacque is similar to Coach Hurley. He gets after me in practice, curses and screams at me. That just pushes me and motivates me to play harder. It’s just tough love.”

Bouknight is a laid-back personality off the court, but fiery on it. He’s a scorer who was predominately a shooting guard at MacDuffie. But he can play small forward, as well as point guard.

“I like to distribute,” he said. “Coach Jacque said when I have the ball in my hands, that’s when I’m at my best.”

Bouknight began his high school career at La Salle Academy in Manhattan. He had known Rivera since he was 14, but didn’t feel he was ready to make the leap to a high-level prep school three hours from home until his junior year, when he joined Rivera at MacDuffie.

Bouknight tore the meniscus in his left knee midway through his junior season but was back on the floor (in limited minutes) that summer at the Peach Jam Festival. He didn’t play great, but later that summer — playing with the PSA Cardinals AAU program alongside point guard Cole Anthony, one of the nation’s top recruits who is headed to North Carolina — Bouknight blew up at the nationals in Las Vegas.

Numerous schools came calling, but Bouknight remained loyal to a pair of coaches who continued recruiting him while he was injured — Hurley, who had left Rhode Island for UConn a few months earlier, and Kimani Young, who recruited Bouknight as an assistant at Minnesota before joining Hurley in Storrs.

Bouknight made official visits to Miami and Virginia Tech and also had Indiana and VCU on his final list. But he pretty much knew he’d be going to UConn all along. And sure enough, on Sept. 18 — his 18th birthday — Bouknight became the Huskies’ first 2019 pledge.

Since then, it’s pretty much been a countdown to his arrival at Storrs. He’s become great friends will fellow incoming freshman Jalen Gaffney, talking on the phone nearly every day. In fact, just before a reporter contacted Bouknight by phone, he had just finished a conversation with Gaffney.

“We’re both excited to turn the program around,” Bouknight said.

He’s known Akok Akok, who joins the two guards as a third four-star recruit in what is ranked as the nation’s No. 19 recruiting class, per 247 Sports for a couple of years, even teaming with him for a weekend on the PSA Cardinals for a weekend last summer. He’s talked to Christian Vital and believes the senior’s “work ethic and willingness to want to win” is going to be a huge boon for the Huskies this season.

In fact, while many onlookers — even Hurley — insist UConn is still in the midst of a rebuild, Bouknight isn’t necessarily buying it.

“I think we’re gonna be extremely good, even make a run at the tournament,” he said. “We’re gonna be a tough team to beat.”

Bouknight expects to be one of the team’s leaders, even as a freshman. A quiet leader, but a leader nonetheless.

“Sometimes we don’t think of laid-back guys as leaders,” said Rivera. “But he’s gonna lead with his play. Not only on the court, but off it, he’s wise beyond his years.

“I’m a quiet person,” Bouknight added, “but when I start to get comfortable with my teammates and friends, I actually talk a whole lot. When I see people in a bad mood, even in the dorms, I’ll talk to them. On the court, I help them get to their spots, things like that. I think a freshman can be a leader.”

UConn fans will find out soon. Bouknight’s journey in Storrs begins in three weeks.

But who’s counting?

RIM RATTLINGS

R.J. Cole, a transfer from Howard, began an official visit to UConn on Monday — two weeks earlier than his previously scheduled Memorial Day Weekend visit. Cole, a point guard and one of the most sought-after transfers on the market, has already visited Alabama. He played for Hurley’s father, Bob Sr., at St. Anthony’s in New Jersey. Cole, who just finished his sophomore season at Howard, would have to sit out this upcoming season, per NCAA transfer rules.

david.borges@hearstmediact.com