Boynton's Focused on Improving his Shot

Kenny Boynton admits he struggled last season. He led the team by averaging 14 points per game, but there were times when he didn't expect any shots to go in. The balance of Boynton's shot was off. His release point wasn't consistent. The fundamentals of his shot changed with almost every attempt.

Heading into the offseason, Kenny Boynton wasn't searching to find the area of his game that needed the most improvement. He needed a more consistent shot.

Head coach Billy Donovan set Boynton up with a shooting coach from Los Angeles who worked with Mike Miller and Jason Kidd in the past.

The focus of the shot coach was the sophomore's release point. During his freshman season, the release point of Boynton's shot was above his head, almost behind it. The difficulty of repeating that every time affected his balance and made his shot less repeatable.

"I'm releasing it more in front of my head," Boynton said. "Last year, I never knew when it was going to go in. I was just shooting it. Now I know when it's off and how long it's going. It's a better shot now."

The new release point makes it easier for Boynton to control his body during the shot. After shooting last year, he would fall backwards or to the side. The improvements allow him to land with balance. He finally feels a sense of control with his shot, instead of throwing it towards the basket and hoping it goes in.

"(Balance) was definitely an issue," Boynton said. "When I shot going backwards, the ball could go anywhere."

The missed shots caused by the fundamental issues soon started to mess with Boynton's mind. His confidence started to slip, and he was soon passing up open shots because he didn't trust them to go in. There were times when his mind couldn't get past shots he missed on previous possessions.

"It was 50-50 (mental and physical)," Boynton said. "I missed some shots last year where I was thinking about other shots."

Boynton also used the offseason to work on his mid-range game and finishing around the basket, especially with his left hand.

On the court, Boynton didn't have a choice but to play big minutes. Erving Walker and Boynton were the only two guards who were trusted to play important minutes. Ray Shipman play out of position at guard when needed, and Nimrod Tishman never turned into the player the coaches thought he could.

Walker and Boynton carried the load. For a freshman accustomed to playing a high school schedule, it was tough for Boynton to play so many minutes. Freshmen Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather will provide depth at guard this season.

"It had a toll on us late in the year," Boynton said. "We've been working hard on conditioning (this fall). Now we've got Scottie and Casey behind us."

The added backcourt depth also allows the team to use more of a full court press. They don't need to conserve bodies during practice. The team is already working on the press that Coach Donovan would prefer to use.

"We've been working on the press early this year," Boynton said. "Last year, we waited a little late to work on the press. It's going to be a big part of our team this year."

His freshman season was a time for learning. Boynton worked hard in high school, but once he left practices at American Heritage High School, he didn't have to work much in film study. That changed when he got to Gainesville.

"I learned that you've got to put a lot of work into this," Boynton said. "It's not just taking shots. It's watching film and studying the guys you're playing against. Mentally, you go into a game prepared. It's more than just basketball."
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