American talking points: Boynton firing blanks

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Kenny Boynton has tried different things to address his shooting problems.

During Boynton’s freshman season, he studied videotape. Over the summer, Boynton hired a shooting coach.

But eight games into the 2010-11 season, Boynton is at a worse percentage from 3-point range now (26.5) compared to at the end of his freshman season (29.7).

Boynton has missed his last nine 3-point attempts after going 0-for-6 from 3-point range (and 0-for-9 overall) against American. It appears that he is firing up more line drives compared to earlier in November, when he started 7-for-20 from beyond the arc.

I asked Florida coach Billy Donovan after the American game if he’s worried that the shooting woes are getting into Boynton’s head. Florida fans watched Dan Werner gradually implode mentally during his four-year career due to his inability to make wide-open shots.

“I don’t worry about that because I’m not going to allow him to stop shooting,” Donovan said of Boynton. “What I want him to do is to take good shots.”

The question is, if career 28 percent 3-point shooter is wide open, is it still a good shot? Donovan thinks so. Boynton has been a streaky shooter early in his UF career. The problem is, Boynton’s bad streaks outweigh his good streaks. Boynton went 5-for-8 in UF’s biggest game this season against Ohio State. But he also failed to make a three-pointer in three games this season, going a combined 0-for-15 against UNC Wilmington, UCF and American.

“He’s not going to do that every game,” Donovan said. “I’m more worried when he shoots for a low percentage and he takes very hard shots. And I thought we found him, we ran him off some screens we got him the ball in space. He didn’t make some shots (against American) and there’s gonna be some games when he’s gonna really, really explode.

“I think when you look at the course of the season there’s gonna be a lot of ebbs and flows in shooting and what I always do is look at shooting percentage at the end of the year. And right now, he has not shot the ball well from the 3-point line. That’s definitely a fact. The UCF game I thought not only him but a lot of our team took a whole lot of difficult tough shots. (Against American) he took great shots and it didn’t go in.”

Donovan gives Boynton more rope to miss shots because he doesn’t let his problems putting the ball in the basket bleed into other areas of the game. Boynton is still UF’s best perimeter defender. And against American, Boynton made good decisions with the ball, finishing with seven assists and no turnovers.

We’re going to be a team that’s probably going to be streaky from the 3-point line,” Donovan said. “Kenny is a good scorer and we need his scoring, but we need him to take good shots. And I thought he played really the right way and took good shots. He didn’t add to our team in terms of the points, he added to the team, in my mind, he had 14 assists tonight. He contributed 14 points. Even though he didn’t put the ball in the basket he helped a couple of other guys put the ball in the basket.”

14 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not just worried about Boynton’s shooting. I’m worried about this entire team’s ability to generate offense consistently. I still don’t feel this team has anyone who is good enough to create their own shot consistently. And if they don’t learn to pass the ball underneath with more regularity, they’ll be lucky to make the tourney. Once again, way too much early hype and praise for this squad.

  2. Boynton is a scorer not a spot-up three point shooter. Walker is not a point guard, he is a very undersized two. It is a red flag when Walker leads the team in scoring. Look at the points scored vs. minutes played. Unless this team begins to pound the ball inside, demanding more shots from the bigs, they will not beat any top twenty teams. The current, guard focused offense is a misuse of talent. Boynton is very good defender, with great speed. His scoring should come in the open court.

  3. Florida’s lead guards are shot jackers. BD has allowed them to get out of control. He benched Calathes for taking bad shots, yet these two get away with hoisting poor shots while he pats them on the back.

    This talk that Boynton is the best perimeter defender is also silly. He allowed American’s Brewer to score 17 on him. The supposed “best defender” was guarding the guy who kept American in the game!

    Also, each of KB’s shots were “great shots”? Are you kidding me Billy? He forced several and truthfully, once a player gets to 0-4, does he really have the green light to get to 0-6?

    Love how BD blames the players, (Sr’s) for thinking about the next level as the reason they lost to UCF. Sells out his players when clearly HE has a dysfunctional team that is manifested by the guard play. The seniors are NOT selfish. It is the guards who have been and continue to be selfish, yet he refuses to accept it.

    Late in the UCF game, BD was puzzled as to why the guards did not go inside to Vern who was having a great game. Hello? Billy? You’re the coach! You are expected to do one of two things: 1) Train your players to make the right decisions or 2) Call the play yourself!

    Wilbekin is their best perimeter defender and probably their only true PG.

  4. With Billy’s past history as being a guard in college and the pros I can’t for the life of me figure out why our guard play has been so pi$$ poor. Billy has yet to put a guard in the NBA that sticks. Green was his best so far and he really wasn’t that good.

  5. With all due respect Joe, Taurean Green was about as good as a college guard gets. He wasn’t an NBA guard because he was undersized and a bit slower than you want for an undersized guard. He still won two national championships.

    As far as other guards, you are, I think, selling the UF guards a bit short. Miller is a combo 2/3 in the NBA so that’s one but there have been successful guards at UF, including longtime NBA’er Jason Williams and future head coach Brett Nelson, who remains one of the better perimeter defenders ever to play in the SEC and a fine scorer.

  6. It is easy to second guess a coach when one is not at pratice everyday, coaching from the sideline, and skilled in evaluating the long term potential of a player over a full season against other players on the same team. Florida’s future is with the underclassmen and Beal plus whoever Billy brings in during the 2011 spring signing period. The 2010 class is one of his best in a while and is similar to in nature to the ’04’s in their first year. They may or may not win a national championship but they are the next step in getting back to that level and will consistently compete for an SEC Championship during their time at Florida. Patience is a virtue, especially with a quality coach such as Billy D!

  7. A lot of good comments – Gator Bob is right about the future with the 2010 class and Rosario and Beal coming in next year. But I would like to see UF not waste the seniors this year. I agree with B Diddy – Wilbekin defends well and plays like a point guard. Message to BD – Walker and Boynton don’t have to play 33+ minutes per game. Let’s see what Wilbekin can do with more playing time. Boynton might even shoot better if he gets a blow now and then.

  8. Jeff Goodman from Fox Sports agrees. Btw, he LOVES Billy!

    “Something needs to change in Gainesville.

    Billy Donovan’s Florida team was tabbed before the season to win the SEC and has all the pieces to make a deep tournament run come March.

    However, he’s got to figure out a way to get his backcourt of Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker to make quality decisions.

    That means Boynton and Walker — who’ve been score-first guys their entire lives — need to learn to take high-percentage shots and figure out how to make their teammates better.

    Chandler Parsons needs to become more involved on the offensive end (he’s averaging just 8.5 shots per game). Vernon Macklin proved he can score in the past in the loss to Central Florida, and sophomore Erik Murphy’s made the most of limited opportunities.

    But Boynton and Walker are shot-hunters (Boynton attempted the most shots on Sunday in a win against American and was 0-for-9 from the field) — and Donovan can’t allow that to continue, or else the Gators, who made the NCAA tournament last season for the first time in three years, could wind up back in the NIT again.”

  9. I am surprized that Goodman said that, he is a hugh Dovovan suck-up. By the way Donovan said yesterday in a Gator Vision interview that he does not care if Boynton go 0-15 as long as he takes good shots. Humm?

  10. Billy’s dead wrong on this one. Boynton does not need to shoot more. That’s all he does is put his head down and try to play one on 5, and involves nobody else on the offense. While everyone else is setting picks and making cuts, he holds the ball and dribbles, then fiannly throws up a brick. Yes, anyone can get hot on occasion, but that’s not gonna bring a consistent offense. He’s not a team player, and needs to be coached and disciplined into being one or get benched.