Five-star guard Boynton commits to UF basketball
Published: Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 31, 2008 at 12:31 a.m.
With the help of a dart gun and some dogged summer pursuit, Florida landed one of the prized basketball recruits of the 2009 class.
Kenny Boynton made an oral commitment to Florida on Thursday night, adding a potential impact guard to the 2009 roster.
Boynton is the seventh-rated prospect in the nation according to Rivals.com, and the second-rated shooting guard in the 2009 class.
“I think more than any kid in his class, Kenny Boynton moves the train ahead in terms of winning,” said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Dave Telep. “There are very few sure things in terms of recruiting. Kenny Boynton is like holding the winning lottery ticket.”
Boynton, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard from the Fort Lauderdale area, made the decision four days after his official visit to Florida.
He chose the Gators over Duke, Georgia Tech and Texas.
“It feels good to get it over with,” Boynton said. “Now I can just concentrate on my senior season in high school, on getting better. I have a close relationship with Coach (Billy) Donovan. On my visit, the players and coaches, they just made me feel like family.”
Donovan added an unconventional twist during Boynton’s home visit. During the visit, the Florida coach brought a dart gun, and said that Boynton could shoot him in the chest if he felt like he talked about recruiting too much.
“He slipped up maybe once or twice, but other than that, we talked about a lot of stuff off the court,” Boynton said. “It showed that he cared about me as a person, not just as a basketball player.”
Boynton said the Florida coaching staff’s presence during the July recruiting period also played a role in his decision. Either Donovan or one of UF assistants attended nearly every single one of Boynton’s summer-league games.
“That helped a lot,” Boynton said. “Before then, Florida wasn’t really on my radar.”
Boynton’s commitment ranks with Mike Miller, Kwame Brown and David Lee in terms of the highest-profile recruits in Florida history. All three took different paths, but are currently in the NBA. Brown never made it to campus, declaring for the NBA draft in 2001 before the league instituted its 19-year-old age restriction. Miller left UF for the NBA draft after his sophomore season, and Lee stayed for all four years before being drafted late in the first round by the New York Knicks.
Asked how long he intends to stay on campus, Boynton replied: “Whatever if takes to get better. If it takes four years, it takes four years. Right now, I don’t see myself staying for more than two years, but we’ll see.”
However long Boynton stays, he projects to help Florida right away. Boynton is capable of playing off the ball or at point guard. He’s a streaky shooter with deep range, who is not afraid to take shots with the game on the line. Boynton also uses his strong upper body to his advantage as a tough on-the-ball defender.
“Billy is going to have confidence drawing plays up for him at the end of the game,” Telep said. “I think when you look at him coming in, with the young big guys they have and with the possibility of Nick Calathes coming back, you’re talking about a team that could make more national title runs.”
Playing at Florida also is a homecoming of sorts for Boynton, who has members on his father’s side of the family that live in the Ocala area.
“I’m looking forward to playing games in front of them,” Boynton said.
Boynton joins 6-foot-11 forward Erik Murphy and 6-foot-9 forward DeShawn Painter in what projects to be a third straight strong recruiting class. All three are expected to sign binding letters of intent next month.
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