Many times, being called into a coach's office is the start of a bad day. For Hollidaysburg graduate John Boyer, it turned out to be just the opposite.
Boyer was told a couple weeks into the fall semester over the phone by University of Buffalo basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon that he had been granted a scholarship for his senior season.
"I was very happy," Boyer said. "It felt like all the hard work paid off. I definitely felt like I achieved what I set out to achieve.
"I always felt like I was a scholarship player, playing in every game and starting three last year, but this made it feel like I actually made it, and it was a reward."
The former Golden Tiger likely already felt like a scholarship player, because he's always been treated as one by Witherspoon and his Bull teammates during his time at the school.
Boyer is the first Blair County boys basketball product to earn a Division I scholarship since Altoona's Jamir Washington got one at Robert Morris in 1999.
"John has earned this," Witherspoon said. "He's been a special part of our program. He's now on scholarship, but he's not anymore important than he has been, because he's always been important.
"He's shown commitment to our program, and we never viewed him as a walk-on player. He's always been someone we wanted in crunch time."
Boyer's commitment to Buffalo began early when 6-foot-1, 185-pound guard chose to attend the school as a walk on rather than attend Division II Mercyhurst with a full ride.
The Bulls went 21-12 overall and went 11-5 and captured the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship a year ago before losing to Akron in the MAC title game and falling to Wichita State in the College Basketball Invitational tournament. Boyer played in each of the team's 33 games and averaged 2.8 points per game, had 52 assists, 75 rebounds and 17 steals on the season.
Boyer is hoping for a repeat trip to the championship game with different results.
"Our goals for this year are the same as last year," Boyer said. "We want to win the MAC tournament, get to the NCAA tournament and keep getting better every day."
Though Boyer has senior eligibility, he is already in a graduate program for physical therapy. Boyer's dedication to his schooling are part of the reason Witherspoon looks toward the senior guard as a possible leader this season.
"You get to this level and everyone has been good in high school, and sometimes that talent makes them lose their toughness," Witherspoon said. "John, though, is a very tough kid. He's unselfish, and it doesn't hurt that he's a terrific student and a good leader.
"He communicates very well and understands his teammates strengths and weaknesses very well."
That ability may land Boyer a starting job - or at least a shot at one - once the college basketball season rolls around. Buffalo lost its top point guard from last season, and collegehoops.net projects Boyer as the Bulls' starting point guard in its 2009-2010 preview.
"I feel like I'll be in the mix," Boyer said. "But it doesn't matter about the starting position. It's about doing whatever it takes to help the team win."
According to Witherspoon, whether or not Buffalo does win will have something to do with Boyer.
"I think he'll be a vital part of things this year," Witherspoon said. "He understands what we're trying to do, and he's a respected part of our program."