Brody Boyd Prepares for Memorable Final Season
Brody Boyd arrived at Iowa four years ago looking like someone's little brother.
He appeared primed for a headlock and the rubbing of knuckles across his skull.
Those days are gone. Little Brody has grown into a man.
Hair atop Boyd's head forms a hip, grown-up style. His arms bulge with muscle definition, results of regimented college training.
"This is about the best that I've felt in a long time," the Iowa senior-to-be said. "I'm shooting the ball well. A lot of that goes to Bill Maxwell, our strength and conditioning coach.
"He's just getting after us."
Boyd and three classmates - Jared Reiner, Glen Worley and Sean Sonderleiter - prepare for their final Iowa season with a vision. It's one of leaving a memorable legacy.
"This is our team," the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Boyd said. "This is the class that (Iowa) coach (Steve) Alford recruited first. And he tells us that about every day.
"If there are any letdowns, it goes onto us. It's been on our teammates in the past, but it's on us now."
Boyd was not being disrespectful to a talented group of new additions. He was taking responsibility.
And Boyd will be heavily relied upon this winter to provide much needed perimeter shooting. Iowa hopes to improve on a tough 2002-03 season in that area.
Attention to detail has risen to the top of Boyd's priorities. During his individual workouts this offseason, Boyd concentrated on reading screens and setting up his cuts.
Early returns indicated that the program must be working. He scored 52 points in his first Prime Time League game.
"When I first got here, I had no clue what a tight cut was or a pop screen," the Indiana native said. "I'm learning from one of the best in (Alford). And he learned it from Coach (Bob) Knight."
Alford earned all-American status while playing for Knight during the mid '80s at Indiana.
"Those are some things that I struggled with last year," Boyd said. "We tried to figure out why my shot wasn't falling. A lot of it was mental. But a lot of it was not setting up the cuts and not reading screens right. If you do those things, your shot is going to be better."
Even with his shooting woes, Boyd finished tied with Reiner as the team's third-leading scorer last season at 9.7 PPG. Boyd shot 55 for 178 (30.9 percent) on 3-pointers after making 42.0 percent of his treys as a sophomore.
Iowa shot just 29.0 percent from beyond the arc in '02-03 and made 61 fewer treys than its opponents. The opposition netted almost two more 3-pointers per contest.
Some of the poor outside shooting could be attributed to fatigue. Iowa used a seven-man rotation.
Improved depth and strenuous offseason training could turn the tide in '03-04. Iowa players work out four times and play two PTL games each week. And a competitive trip to Australia is set for August.
"It gets pretty rough, but it's helping in the long run," Boyd said. "And I think it shows."
Boyd and four teammates spent a week in June working at Alford's camp in Indiana. The Hawkeyes lifted weights early in the morning before playing basketball for the rest of the day.
The campers still remembered Boyd from his days at Dugger (Ind.) High. He left the state as its third-leading prep scorer with 2,632 points. He netted 904 as a senior for a 32.3 per game average.
"A lot of kids know who I am," Boyd said. "A lot of Indiana fans turned to Iowa fans now because of me being from a small town (in Indiana). It's a lot of fun."
Boyd showed signs of having fun late last season. In Iowa's final four games, he averaged 12.3 points while shooting 11 for 25 (44.0 percent) on treys.
The '02-03 season started with Boyd missing the season opener for an offcourt incident. He began his sophomore year with a leg injury that followed him for most of the campaign.
Boyd said all of that stuff sits behind him now.
"In the past, I've slipped a little bit not being able to be in the gym because of an injury or something else," he said. "I've come a long way and am getting better. I'm mentally getting better.
"When the shot is not falling, I've gotten better at picking myself up."
Freida and Benji Boyd, Brody's parents, frequently remind their son that tomorrow has arrived. They add that it will be over before he knows it.
"I always wondered what it was like for (Ryan) Hogan and Rod Thompson and all of those guys being seniors," Boyd said. "They told me that it goes by quick and to enjoy it. I've learned from watching them."
Boyd believes his final run in Black and Gold could be a special one. A conference crown can be achieved provided past troubles in the program remain in the past.
"Everything is behind us," Boyd said. "We've had problems in the past, but we've learned from them. We're seniors now, and we've got to make sure that stuff doesn't happen again.
"We have to be accountable for one another. That's how we get to where we want to be."
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