The technical terms ‘high-post screen’ and ‘thermodynamics’ are often discussed in different circles and rarely intermix in a conversation. Kyle Boswell is certainly an exception to this case as this senior guard on the UCSB men’s basketball team must balance athletics with his mechanical engineering major.
Even more impressive is the success he has found both on the court and in the classroom. Boswell was named last year’s Big West Sixth Man of the Year and was All-Big West Honorable Mention in addition to maintaining a 3.8 GPA in the classroom.
“My schedule as a student athlete is pretty demanding. Day in and day out I’m doing a balancing act between basketball and school work,” Boswell said. “It being my fourth year here at UCSB, it’s kind of become part of who I am. I embrace the challenge. What I love about both is they’re both passions of mine. Being able to do both at such a high level is a blessing.”
Boswell grew up in Southern California, attending Edison High School in Huntington Beach where his specialty as a basketball player gained notoriety. While at Edison, Boswell became the all-time leader in career points, averaging over 23 points per game as a senior behind a deadly perimeter shot. That outside shot garnered the attention of UCSB, a dream come true for Kyle, who was interested in more than just basketball.
With a scholarship in hand, Boswell knew he wanted to become a Gaucho and major in mechanical engineering, but faced road blocks in achieving that goal from the time he stepped on campus.
“Our engineering program is definitely at the top of the line. I didn’t get into the program because it was so competitive,” Boswell said. “I had to petition and take some courses and compete against some of the people for them to even consider me to get into the major. After about a year and a half, they told me my performance in the classroom was good enough to let me in. That in itself was a blessing.”
His 3.8 GPA is evidence enough that he warranted a spot in an engineering program that often ranks in the top 25 in the nation.
Moving onto campus, Boswell had the task of balancing more than your average Gaucho had to, adjusting to college life and taking engineering courses in addition to his duties as a basketball player. During his freshman year, Boswell played a reserve role for a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, starting six of the 21 contests he played in.
During his sophomore season, Boswell truly became an outside weapon for Santa Barbara, leading the team in three-point field goal percentage while ranking in the top four in minutes played. This is when Boswell emerged as a sixth man for the Gauchos.
“I absolutely love being the sixth man. I like to kind of sit back for a couple minutes in the game, see the landscape and how the flow’s going, how our team’s playing and what I need to do coming off the bench,” Boswell said.
Since then, Boswell has volunteered to come off the bench, a role in which he has certainly found success. Last season, Boswell averaged 13 points per game on his way to the Sixth Man of the Year award and all-conference honorable mention. This year, he ranks second on the Gauchos in scoring with 11 points per game and currently ranks third in school history in three-pointers made.
Aside from his success on the court, Boswell has received tremendous recognition for his ability to balance academics as well. This past fall Boswell was named one of 30 semi-finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, was named the Big West Scholar Athlete of the Year for men’s basketball and is also a two-time recipient of the Golden Eagle award for academic excellence.
“In terms of being successful here as a student athlete, anyone can do it. I’m not like a freak of nature, who, like no other kid in the school, can do what I do,” Boswell said. “You’ve honestly got to love what you do and just put in the work. It’s the lifestyle; you’ve got to embrace the challenge and give it all you got.”
While not unheard of, being a student-athlete in the engineering department is certainly rare, and something Boswell and his professors must talk over due to the demands of travel for competition.
“Not many athletes come out of this department so it’s kind of new for [professors]. Kind of every quarter, I need to talk to teachers right away and let them know my situation,” Boswell said.
This upcoming summer, Boswell will intern with Chevron in Los Angeles in a major step towards achieving his eventual goal of working in an oil field.
“I feel like it will be great for me because I love learning about the thermodynamics side of stuff and fluid mechanics, and you put that together and you get working in an oil field,” Boswell said.
Boswell will exhaust his eligibility for basketball after this season, but will return to UCSB next year to complete his degree without the athlete title. Needless to say, academics should be a piece of cake for Boswell next year without the extra demand of collegiate athletics.
“It’s something that I could have only dreamed about. You don’t get this many opportunities in life where you’re exposed to such a high caliber education and at the same time you’re playing at the highest collegiate level of basketball,” Boswell said. “UCSB is a paradise and I couldn’t ask for anything more out of the school.”
Boswell and the rest of the UCSB men’s basketball team host UC Riverside tomorrow at the Thunderdome.
A version of this article appeared on page 10 of Feb. 19th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of the Daily Nexus.