Herz Confident Boynton Will Deliver

Tuesday afternoon I had the chance to talk with American Heritage Coach Danny Herz about a quartet of basketball players. Herz coached Kenny Boynton and Eloy Vargas in high school while coaching against Ray Shipman and Brandon Knight.

Today we'll bring you his thought on his two players. Tomorrow we'll share his thoughts on Shipman's ability to handle an expanded role next season and how he sees the talents and recruitment of Knight, the top rising senior in the state and one of the best in the nation.


LV: With the departure of Nick Calathes it appears likely that Kenny will have to play point guard at least some of the time instead of being a "2" full time. Is that an issue?

DH: It's definitely not an issue. Obviously it's going to be different from what Coach Donovan and the staff originally planned, but Kenny has had some time with the ball in his hands. He's not a pure point guard, there's no doubt about that, but people are too quick to label players. You see up there at Florida sometimes they play with three guards. Billy's done it when he's had more than one point guard on the floor. Erving Walker is going to play the "1", but Kenny's going to have the ball in hands a lot.

LV: As he got ready to come up here did he spend time on trying to improve his ball skills to take his game to another level?

DH: Kenny knew at the end of his sophomore year that he probably wasn't going to get much taller. To be a 6'2" shooting guard is not prototypical of the next level (NBA) so he's always been working on his ball handling and distributing the ball. As far as running the team, that's going to come with experience but Coach Donovan and his staff are great at teaching that. It's going to have to happen on the fly a little bit. I think the mental part will be tougher than the physical part.

LV: He also has to deal with a longer season and longer games. How prepared is he for the physical challenges that await him?

DH: I don't know if you're ready. We play 32 minutes, when he gets up there they play 40. We play 25 games a season and hopefully the Gators will be playing 35 or more. It's a lot more minutes and a lot more games and you never know what's going to happen when you hit the proverbial wall. And that's not just with Kenny, it's with any freshman. But he's very strong mentally. He lives for the challenge and the opportunity to compete.

LV: What's the latest with Eloy Vargas from your perspective?

DH: I talked to Eloy just a couple of weeks ago when he came down and visited me between summer sessions. He's doing well. He's working hard in the classroom. He's continued to get better physically. The coaches have done a great job of pushing him and getting him to understand what it takes to play at the level they expect him to. He's very optimistic about this year. Speaking to the coaches they feel like he's made great strides and they expect him to be a contributor.

LV: How about his size and his strength? Has he made progress in that area?

DH: He's gotten stronger. When he had surgery he actually put on a lot of weight, but it wasn't good weight. He actually lost that weight as he was physically getting ready to play. He lost the baby fat type of weight and put on some strength weight. He looked very good and he's back up there working with the strength guys and nutrition guys and he's going to continue to get better physically.


Danny Herz coached against Ray Shipman when the Gator sophomore was at Monsignor Pace in Miami as well as next year's top high school player, Brandon Knight. We'll have his thoughts on those guys coming up tomorrow.

Herz made his comments on my show on AM-850 WRUF. You can hear the show weekdays from 4:00–6:00 p.m. and you can listen online at am850.com.

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