Gators remain confident in slumping Boynton

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The storybook senior season for Florida guard Kenny Boynton has not stuck to its script.

By now, many expected Boynton would be closing in on UF’s scoring record. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out that way. The 6-foot-2 former McDonald’s All-American from Pompano Beach is down to just 12.5 points per game this season after a two-point, 1-for-7 shooting night at Tennessee.

At 1,927 points, Boynton remains 3 points behind Andrew Moten for second on UF’s scoring list. Unless Boynton goes on a tear in March (which would be a welcome sight for Gator fans), he’ll have a hard time catching all-time scoring leader Ronnie Williams, who is at 2,090 points.

The Tennessee game capped a brutal February for Boynton. He averaged 9.9 points per game while shooting 24 percent from 3-point range (12-50).

Boynton’s senior struggles are eerily reminiscent of Brett Nelson, who went through a similar slump as a senior in 2003 and eventually lost his starting job to freshman Anthony Roberson. But Donovan remains confident in Boynton’s shooting and decision-making.

“Guys project how a guy is playing or not playing based on whether or not the ball is going in the basket and certainly here the last few games he hasn’t made the number of shots that he has made,” Donovan said. “He had a stretch there to start the year where he really wasn’t shooting the ball, and then he went on a tear for a little bit and maybe here lately, he’s not.”

For the season, Boynton is shooting 32.8 percent from 3-point range, down from the 40.7 he shot from the same distance as a junior. In SEC games, Boynton is barely shooting over 30 percent (29-96, 30.2 percent) from beyond the arc.

At this point, Donovan is concerned about Boynton taking good shots rather than contested shots. He felt he got off to a poor shooting start this season because he took too many looks that weren’t open.

“In the Tennessee game, he only took seven shots,” Donovan said. “He didn’t take a lot of shots, he had a couple of good looks that didn’t go down. He had a good drive to the basket that came up a little bit short. He’s just got to stick with it and continue to take good shots.”

Down 58-54 with 1:12 left against Tennessee, Boynton missed a wide-open 3-pointer in transition. On the play, teammate Erik Murphy was wide open underneath the basket for a potential easy two-point basket. Donovan said he didn’t view the shot as a selfish play.

“Erik was open there,” Donovan said. “But that happens a lot of times. There’s times Patric (Young) gets the ball, and throws the ball out of the post and there’s a guy wide open, he throws it to a guy that’s kind of semi-open. That’s gonna happen there.

“I always look a guys intent. Kenny has been an unselfish player for a good portion of this SEC schedule. He’s had the best assist-to-turnover ratio of anybody in the league. I think he’s grown in that area. I think he plays the right way.”

Murphy, for one, is confident that his senior classmate will bounce back. He’s witnessed Boynton get on a shooting roll before, and thinks he’s capable of another hot streak.

“I’m not worried about that at all,” Murphy said. “KB’s a great player. I’m not worried about him turning it around. He might not be shooting it as well as he has in the past, but I think he’s playing great in all other aspects of the game, you know. That’s something that he’s worked at and he’s gotten a lot better at it, and it’s helping us as a team. I don’t think he has to do any turning around. He’s doing fine right now. His shots will fall. I trust him in that phase.”

Other notes:

— Donovan said he did not get a chance to see 2013 signee Chris Walker at the Class A state finals in Lakeland. Assistant coach Matt McCall went instead. In the state semifinals and finals, the 6-foot-10 Walker averaged 25 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks, leading Holmes County a state title. “Really happy for him and their team,” Donovan said. “Sounded like he played great and probably for a small area like Holmes County, I’m sure it was a big deal for them, winning a state championship. So I was happy for those guys.”

— Murphy said there is no particular reason why he doesn’t take part in pregame shoot-arounds, which are optional. It’s not like the 6-foot-10 senior needs warming up. He still leads the SEC in 3-point shooting percentage at 46.7 percent. from beyond the arc. “The whole season and last season, too, that’s just what I do,” Murphy said. “It’s my ritual.”

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. Boynton’s shot will start falling soon; the law of probability says so…The time is coming where these guys need to ‘Just Believe’ and ‘JUST DO IT!’ Their ability, throughout the year, was clearly seen to all.
    The injuries, hopefully, are mending, too. The Gators have a legitimate shot at an S.E.C. RING for the REG. SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP. Hard to believe that in all of Coach ‘D’s success, he has ONLY 2 of them.
    So, come on Gators! JUST DO IT! And, oh, please learn how to ‘LIVE LIFE OUT OF THE DOME’, too! GO GATORS!

  2. Boynton is a good player, but he has very poor shooting form. His outside shot is very flat with no arc and when he brings the ball up to shoot he brings the ball behind his head and then forward when he shoots. He also shoots to many contested 3’s. What I do not understand is why this has not been corrected after 4 years? He should drive to the basket more and finish strong at the rim.

    Plus, for what its worth, Young has been a disappointment. With his size and strength, he should be scoring 15-20 per game. He disappears in games. He needs to take the ball strong to the rim and not settle for the little flip, especially when going to his left. Take the extra step and slam it and draw the foul. Of course, he then has to make the foul shots. Another problem.

  3. I think Kenny has a confidence problem right now. Yes, his form is not good, and is probably gonna keep him from being drafted by the NBA. But he’s had better shooting seasons with similar form. He is a very streaky shooter, and it’s not falling right now. We need him to get his shot back in March if we’re to go deep into the tourney.

  4. From last year to this year Boynton’s scoring is down, his shooting percentages are down. His assists, assist/turnover ratio and rebounding are all up. He’s trying (maybe too hard) to become a more rounded player for the NBA draft.

  5. I am worried about everything else, but Boynton’s scoring. The inability to score inside late in games, free throws, rebounding, and staying healthy are bigger issues to me. Shooters have slumps, always have, always will. This team has the ability to do good, maybe great things if we become more consistent in all areas of the game. You will likely not see a Gator player average 15-20 per game under Donovan, and that is a very good thing. We are close to having all 5 starters averaging in double figures, which is magical. The last time that happened, we were cutting down the nets, twice… Go Gators!

  6. Since Dec., I’ve been thinking Boyton is a repeat Nelson in the back of my mind. After the UT game, it’s now in the front of my mind. This blog validates my thoughts. KB’s future in hoops wil be predicated on his ability to finish out this season as The MAN on UF’s team. All the other Boys have been consistent, if not injured, even the oft times erratic Rosario, while KB has been almost unpredictable. I wish KB the best, win or lose, hit or miss. The dude has given a ton of effort to our basketball program, and no matter what happens from here on out, he should be remembered as a great edition to Florida Basketball. Props to you, Kenny! ’84

  7. That was funny but I Goggled the law of probability and there sure were a lot of results addressing it. I’m just saying. He is not in truth a good NBA prospect but he seems to play better in the tournament – hopefully that will happen again this year because we need him.

  8. Sometimes shots fall, sometimes they don’t. Honestly, I can’t remember any Gator who has shot particularly well at Knoxville. Maybe Alex Tyus a couple of years ago in our only win up there. I agree that KB should attack the basket with more ferocity. He seems to be a little shaky lately but he has been making good passes to set up teammates. It is frustrating to be so close and then lose in the final minutes.

  9. @ Joel Roth, Young is getting 7.1 shots a game; it’s extremely hard to score 15-20 points with just that many shots in high school, college or the NBA. The guy is very unselfish always passing the ball to our 5 or 6, 3 point shooters. Mike and Kenny are very aggressive in shooting the ball; Murphy has tons of trouble getting him the ball in the post. Sometimes my fav player Scottie dribbles a little too much.

    The only games the other teams D let him go one on one and cover our perimeter guys instead. He went 7-10 from the field in one of those games. Some………………A LOT of you people really don’t know the game of basketball. I understand giving an opinion but to say something as a blanket answer for everything is absolutely ignorant.

    Pat Young doesn’t get the shots to score that many points, PLAIN AND SIMPLE!

    Now that is a true blanket statement.