- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
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The battle for one of the best shooting guards in the country -- Kenny Boynton, the No. 13 prospect on the ESPNU 100 -- is over. The sought-after player from Pompano Beach, Fla., decided to stay at home and play for the Gators.
Florida coach Billy Donovan is getting a young man who has the total package of superb basketball skills, academic priorities and strong character. Boynton is a fierce competitor who can flat-out score. His range is well out to the NBA 3-point line, and he is equally effective off the dribble or the catch. His athletic ability is impressive; he gets great vertical lift on his jumper. Boynton has excellent mechanics on his jumper and exudes great confidence in himself as a scorer. He can handle the pressure of making the wide-open shot or the contested jumper. He doesn't allow the last possession to affect the next -- now that's believing in yourself!
Although his range is deep at this point in his career, he is somewhat streaky. Boynton beats the defense first in transition; he is very capable of going all the way to the basket and finishing above the rim. He's also not afraid of the pull-up in transition.
In the half court, he thrives hitting jump shots from the perimeter when his teammates penetrate. Boynton also uses screens well in order to free himself, changing speeds to keep his defender off balance and making the proper cut to score. He is also extremely dangerous in a two-man pick-and-roll game; he reads the defense and either steps behind for the jumper or attacks the defense and makes his way to the basket. He knows how to shot-fake his defender and has a good middle game -- but he does not utilize it enough.
One area that really needs to improve for Boynton is his free-throw shooting (he's in the 60 percent range). To be on the floor at the end of games you must be able to step up and knock them down if you are a good guard. With his strong body and highly competitive nature he is a determined on-ball defender, but he must work on help-side defense.
A student of the game, Boynton is constantly refining his basketball skills. He gets up early in the morning to do shooting and ballhandling drills, then goes back at it in the afternoon. That work ethic should be a plus while playing for Donovan, who excels at individual skill development. Donovan approaches practice like a classroom setting, in which he teaches his concepts, emphasizes his philosophy and motivates his student-athletes to improve daily.
While evaluating Boynton's game over the years, what stands out most is his championship pedigree. He was a vital part of his AAU program, Team Breakdown, which has won back-to-back championships at the National AAU games in Orlando. When the game is on the line, Boynton has the ability to take it over and carry his team to victory.
Paul Biancardi, who spent 2007-08 as an assistant coach on Rick Majerus' staff at Saint Louis, is the sole national recruiting director for ESPN Scouts Inc. He has 18 years of coaching experience at the Division I level. He was an assistant at Boston University, Boston College and Ohio State before becoming the head coach at Wright State, where he earned Horizon League Coach of the Year honors in the 2003-04 season.
Class of 2009 shooting guard prospect Kenny Boynton will be a good fit at Florida, writes Paul Biancardi.