Boynton becoming a leader

Billy Donovan learned a valuable lesson after trying to force the quiet, reserved Erving Walker into a vocal leadership role last season. It didn't work. As Kenny Boynton heads into his final season in Gainesville, Donovan won't make the same mistake. However, Boynton has been more vocal on his own this season without the prompting of the coaching staff.

"I'm trying to be more of a vocal leader," Kenny Boynton said. "I'm working on it. In previous years, I led by example, but we've got freshman in this year and I'm a senior, so I've got to be more vocal."

Boynton, who was attached at the hip with Erving Walker over the last three years, knew the experiment of pushing Walker to be more vocal wouldn't work. It's not who the point guard was during his first three years in Gainesville, and it would be impossible for Walker to change for the final year of his career.

"That just wasn't Erv," Boynton said with a laugh.

It shouldn't be so hard for Boyton—at least that's what the senior guard thinks. He said the most vocal part of practice is teaching the freshmen the plays and making sure they're lined up in the right positions for practice, adding, "you don't have to talk every play." The fit is still a work in progress for the senior.

"Kenny has been one those kind of quiet leaders where he doesn't say a whole lot," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "A lot of times it's done through how he performs and how hard he plays. I'd like to see him be more vocal, but at the same point, I don't want to put him in a situation where he's uncomfortable being who he has been or who he wants to be."

Boynton will be spending his final year in Gainesville, after sitting down and evaluating options with his family after his junior year. There was a thought about leaving school early and testing out the waters in the NBA or heading to play professional ball overseas.

However, Boynton thought coming back to school was the best move. Walker's departure opened the spot at point guard, where Boynton's size is a better fit at the next level. He'll play more point guard this year to prepare him for the next level.

"I've been working on that—me and Scottie," Boynton. "We've been switching up. At my size, I have to play the point guard at the next level. It's decision making and making better decisions on the court."

When Boynton was recruited, he was billed as a player that wouldn't be playing college basketball for long. As he starts his fourth year as a starter in Gainesville, Boynton wasn't shy to admit that never thought this would be the case.

There are plenty of reasons why it didn't work. There were holes in Boynton's games when he got to Gainesville, and while they've improved over the last three years, his height hasn't. He's listed at 6-2 on the Florida roster, and but that might be generous for Boynton.

As a scorer, it would be tough for his to work as a two-guard in the NBA. He's hoping a year with some time at point guard will give him a better chance.

"The goal at the end of this process to have an opportunity to play in the NBA," Donovan said. "I think for Kenny, that's an opportunity. I know in sitting down with Kenny his family the last two years, there has been some thought about whether or not to even put his name in the draft or not.

"I think probably where he was slotted to be projected in the draft, his family and Kenny felt like it was best to come back. I think the opportunity for him to get his degree was important."

The improvement has come in his midrange game this offseason. Boynton worked on it throughout the season, as well as an increased focus on finishing at the rim. It's a big chance from the player Boynton was when he came to Gainesville.

"When I first got here, I really didn't like going to the hole at all," Boynton said. "I was an outside shooter or a fast break layup."

His game has gone through plenty of change at Florida. The last one remaining is his leadership ability.

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