Boynton Ready for Homecoming

Every year at Florida has meant progress for Kenny Boynton. Now into his junior season, the guard has made his biggest jump as a scorer, leading the Gators with 18.7 points per game. Boynton leads Florida back to his hometown on Saturday against No. 22 Texas A&M with a more consistent jumper and improved all around game.

"For him to take his game to another level, he has to do what he did against Rider where he goes out and shoots a high percentage from the field and has five or six assists, no turnovers and plays a good floor game," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "I still believe that if Kenny Boynton isn't scoring or making shots, it's not the end of the world because there are so many other things he does."

Boynton came to Florida with a reputation as a scorer in high school, but the part of his game that wasn't as widely understood was his on-ball defense. Boynton immediately made an impact on that end of the floor. That hasn't changed once.

Boynton still draws the opposing team's first scoring option while still being counted on to score points for Florida. That immediately earned the respect of his teammates.

"Kenny is amazing on defense," Florida guard Brad Beal said. "He's always guarding the best player. I take my hat off to him because he has to play both ends of the floor hard. Everybody feeds off his defense because he gets after it."

The progress this season has come in his jump shot. For the first time in years, Boynton didn't try to change his shot in the offseason. Instead, he worked hard to own the shot he had and become completely comfortable with it. That work has allowed Boynton to hit 45.7% of his three-point attempts this season.

"I was really impressed with what he did from his freshman to sophomore year and then his sophomore to junior year," Donovan said. "He's really starting to become a more complete player."

Boynton now gets to showcase his season in front of family and friends. The Gators will take on Texas A&M Saturday at 2:30 in Sunrise, Fla. The BankAtlantic Center, where the game will be played, is just over four miles away from where Boynton played high school basketball at American Heritage.

"I've got a couple people coming this year," Boynton said. "It's definitely a fun game going down there and right down the street from where I went to high school at.

"It feels like a home game. Everybody will be there."

A LOOK AT Texas A&M: The Aggies have plenty of size, starting three players 6-7 or taller. They are seventh in the country with a rebounding margin of +10.3 The Gators are 22nd in the country in rebounding margin at +7.8.

"You've got to do a lot of things well to beat them," Donovan said. "You've got to rebound the ball. Because they are good defensively, you have to make good decisions and take good shots. They have a balance of inside and out, so you have to take care of the ball."

Despite being a team with plenty of size, Boynton said the Gators realized on film that Texas A&M tries to get off a quick shot within the first seven seconds of the shot clock.

"The most important thing is for us to get back on defense," Boynton said. "They do a good job at (shooting early in the shot clock). I don't think they like playing much in the half court."


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