Notebook: Beal, Boynton undecided about NBA
Published: Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 10:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 10:24 p.m.
PHOENIX — Shortly after Florida's 72-68 loss to Louisville, senior point guard Erving Walker sat silent at his locker.
A yellow towel was draped over his head. His eyes started to well up.
“I had a great four years,” Walker said. “It was the best four years of my life.”
It was a painful end to Walker's career. For the second straight year, Florida came within minutes of a Final Four appearance. But for the second straight year, Florida fell short in the Elite Eight.
Walker leaves Florida first on the school career list in assists (547), second in 3-pointers (285) and fourth in total points (1,777).
“I can't say of another player who has accomplished what he has accomplished throughout his career,” said Florida junior guard Kenny Boynton, Walker's close friend and roommate. “I think he's a great player and I wish him the best in the future. As a small player, he showed other players around the country, little guards, that you can come in and play in the SEC and have a great career.”
The future of Boynton and freshman guard Bradley Beal remain uncertain. Both said the Elite Eight loss won't impact their decision whether to come back or enter the NBA Draft. Beal is projected by most NBA mock draft websites as a lottery pick, while Boynton isn't projected to go in the draft's two rounds.
”I don't have an answer right now,” Boynton said. “Right now, I'm just trying to get over this loss. I'm not thinking of the future right now.”
Said Beal: “I'm not really focusing on next year right now. I'm still just affected by this loss right now. I want to bond with the team. We had a tough loss.”
Tough day at the line
Florida had been shooting well from the free-throw line throughout March, making 80 percent (71 of 89) in the month entering the Louisville game.
But Florida reverted to its early season free-throw struggles in its Elite Eight loss. Florida shot just 67 percent (12-18) from the free-throw line. Patric Young and Walker combined to go 1 of 4 from the free-throw line in the final nine minutes.
“We just gotta make free throws,” Young said. “That was the bottom line. I made one of two, but I could have had the second well. Erv missed two, but he made five or six tonight.”
Louisville, which came into the game shooting 68.5 percent from the free-throw line, made 12 of 15 (80 percent).
“You can't blame it on the free throw shooting,” Young said. “If you are going to blame it on any aspect it has to be the defense and our shot selection on offense in the second half.”
Florida dropped to 2-5 in games decided by five points or less this season. … For his career, Florida coach Billy Donovan is 58-73 in games decided by five points of less.