After a turbulent freshman season filled with numerous highs and lows, Kenny Boynton has reason to believe he’ll make major strides in his second year.
Thanks to a new shooting motion, a few new faces at his position, the team’s improved post offense and the experience of last year’s run to the NCAA Tournament, Boynton should see a major increase in his 29.4 three-point shooting percentage.
“I think the shooting percentages really were drastically low for both (Boynton and point guard Erving Walker),” coach Billy Donovan said.
In an effort to turn that number around, Boynton tried to form a more consistent stroke.
At times last season, the then-freshman guard had issues keeping his lower body steady during his shot.
He also struggled to keep his release point consistent, occasionally letting go of the ball on the way down rather than at the high point of his jump.
But now, Boynton believes all of those issues are behind him.
After working with a coach who Donovan first met through former Gators guard Mike Miller, Boynton has switched up his release so that the ball leaves his hands farther out in front of his head, giving him control he had not previously felt.
“Last year I never knew when it was going to go in, I was just shooting,” Boynton said. “Now I know when it’s off and how long it’s going, and I think it’s just a better shot.”
Boynton said he is now consistently taking the same stroke every time, whereas last year each shot felt different.
This added stability figures to help not only the sophomore’s outside shooting, but also his midrange game, which he says has improved during the offseason.
“I feel like in workouts I’ve been knocking down my midrange shot a lot,” Boynton said. “That was definitely a big thing I wanted to work at.”
The continued development of the team’s interior players is another factor expected to lead to better three-point shooting.
If big men like Vernon Macklin, Erik Murphy and Patric Young can draw the attention of opposing defenses, it should generate more open looks for UF’s guards.
“Being able to throw the ball inside and having some more scoring options can maybe relieve some of that pressure on those guys,” Donovan said.
An additional technique Donovan is using to lighten the load of the starting guards is to put solid players behind them.
To this end, Florida brought in a pair of freshmen in guard Scottie Wilbekin and swingman Casey Prather, who are expected relieve Boynton and Walker, who tied for the team lead with 32.9 minutes played per game last season.
Another new face, Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario, has to sit out this season but should help Boynton in practice. Rosario’s talent both offensively and defensively has forced Boynton to lift his game in workouts.
But perhaps more than anything, Boynton will be aided by the experience and wisdom he gained in his first year with the program.
“I learned that you gotta put a lot of work into this,” Boynton said. “It’s not just going and taking shots. It’s watching film, it’s studying the guys that you’re playing against. It’s mentally going into the game and being prepared, knowing that it’s more than just basketball.”