Kenny Boynton came to Florida with a reputation as a prolific scorer after averaging 33 points per game as a senior at American Heritage High School.
But it’s been the rest of Boynton’s game that has helped sparked Florida to its early 7-0 start.
Battling the stomach flu, Boynton had nine assists to one turnover in Florida’s 80-59 win over Florida A&M. Boynton was 0-for-7 from the field and scored just one point in 24 minutes.
“Although he didn’t make his shot, he did other things to help our team,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “I think because he was such a prolific scorer coming out of high school, that’s the first thing everyone gravitates toward, his scoring. A lot of times people miss out on the fact there are other things he can do, too, and that’s what makes him a complete player.”
Boynton has established himself at Erving Walker’s backup at point guard, as part of a three-guard rotation with sophomore Ray Shipman. The 6-foot-2 Boynton has been more than capable handling the ball and making decisions. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 13-3 over his last three games.
On defense, Boynton has been a sparkplug at the front of the press with six steals.
“I’ve seen a lot of young players when their offense is not going well they end up not playing the other end of the floor and break down,” Donovan said. “Kenny has been one of our best perimeter defenders. He’s a reliable guy and he’s a guy who can lock people down.”
The contributions has helped make up for Boynton’s inconsistent start from the perimeter. Donovan has given the freshman former McDonald’s All-American more rope if he takes a bad shot because of his effort and intensity on defense. Boynton still leads UF in scoring at 13.7 points per game but is shooting just 37.3 percent from the floor and 17.4 percent (8-46) from 3-point range.
“My biggest thing with him is getting him to a point where he’s taking high percentage shots,” Donovan said. “Has he had some shots that I wish we would have gotten back? Absolutely but our whole team has been in that situation.
“But I think the one thing about Kenny is when you have a player who has the gift and ability to put the ball in the basket, he can be very, very streaky. I don’t want him over-thinking. I think it’s my job to continue to instill confidence and belief in himself. His shots will drop and fall. They fell in the exhibition. I’m confident that they will fall going forward.”