Boynton excited for senior night

Kenny Boynton isn't shy to admit he never thought Wednesday night would happen. Coming to Gainesville as one of the top prep scorers in his class, the American Heritage High School product expected to stick around at Florida for a couple years, leave early and start his career in the NBA. It didn't work out that way for Boynton. And he's more than content with the way his career turned out.

"I think everything happens for a reason," Kenny Boynton said on Monday morning. "I think in the four years I've been here I think I've gotten better as a player. I definitely didn't think when I signed here I'd be here four years, but I am here and I decided to stay."

The knocks against Boynton are his lack of height and his shot selection, even though that has improved this season. He has sacrificed shots this season for the overall success over the team, and the Gators are now one win from clinching an outright Southeastern Conference title with his help.

Boynton and fellow senior Erik Murphy will be the first two players in school history to win two outright conference titles.

It would be another impressive notch on a long list of accolades throughout Boynton's career. But they aren't the ones he imagined when he came to school. He figured he would be two or three years into his NBA career by this point but still a topic of conversation in Gainesville for the dynamic career he imagined.

That career has still happened. It just didn't produce an early departure from college with it.

And Boynton insists that's alright.

"I've learned a lot," Boynton said. "Coach Donovan has pushed me to a level that I didn't have in me. I've met some great people here. I honestly have enjoyed my four years here."

He'll still leave Gainesville as one of the best players in school history. Although he first imagined it would be because of a short career that produced a lot of points, Boynton will be known for his scoring over the course of a four-year career. He's currently second on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,940 points and just 150 behind Ronnie Williams for first place.

Boynton already holds the program record with 320 three-pointers, 934 three-point attempts, 1,591 field goal attempts, 4,414 minutes played and 133 games started.

"Coming out of high school, he probably could have gone just about anywhere in the country and chose to stay in state and play here," Donovan said. "The fact that he's going to leave here as one of the all-time leading scorers — he's just had an incredible career. I love coaching him. Hopefully I get a chance to coach him a lot longer."

Boynton has taken plenty of criticism for his shot selection late in games and can come too reliant on the three-point shot, but he's still learning. When the Gators took a shot from Alabama on Saturday and fell behind, they changed their offensive approach and took the ball in the paint, led by Boynton.

That wasn't by accident. He knew what the team needed and wanted to help the offense get started.

That's how he wants to be remembered — a player that would do whatever it takes to get the win. And he has been a part of many of them, helping the Florida program regain its spot among the elite in the country after back-to-back NIT appearances before Boynton arrived.

"I want them to say that I was a winner," Boynton said. "In my four years here, I've tried my best to win as much as I could. I want to go out this year as a winner with winning a national championship."

Boynton has done plenty of damage to the record books and put his name in as one of the best players in Florida basketball history. It just didn't come the way he expected.


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