Kenny Boynton Jr. never met a shot he felt he couldn’t make. That supreme confidence which carried Boynton to phenom status on the AAU and Florida high school level and ultimately No. 2 all-time scorer for Florida helped Boynton earn an audition in the NBA summer league.
Bypassed in the NBA Draft last Thursday, Boynton has accepted an invitation to play for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Summer League team, for games July 12-22.
Boynton was a four-year starter for Florida (2,033 points) and helped lead the Gators to three consecutive Elite Eight appearances but concerns over his size (6-2) and 39.9 shooting percentage at Florida left him out of the Top 100 NBA Draft rankings.
Former Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall, who won the third of his five state titles with Boynton leading the way in 2006-07, believes Boynton could develop into a role similar to the Miami Heat’s Norris Cole, another undersized combo guard.
“Norris Cole wasn’t necessarily a point guard coming out of college but he has established himself as one,” Randall said. “He has been following [Mario] Chalmers’ lead and [Dwyane] Wade’s lead. Now he is in his zone. Junior [Boynton] could thrive in a similar situation. Junior is hungry to learn more and then when the times comes, I think he will be alright.”
The lone Florida player selected in the draft was forward Erik Murphy, who went to the Chicago Bulls with the No. 49 pick.
For whatever reason, Boynton never really established a niche at Florida while playing off the ball for most of his career before given added ball-handling duties as a senior.
“Kenny had a great college career but I don’t think he was given a chance to prepare for that point guard position until his senior year,” Randall said. “He is playing catch-up. He didn’t have a great shooting year but he is always confident in wanting the ball in his hands to make a play. He is never afraid of taking that last shot.”
A streaky shooter, Boynton’s calling card is his ability to put points on the board in a hurry.
As an eighth-grader he drew national attention when he scored a record 45 points at an AAU tournament and followed that by leading Pompano Beach Blanche Ely to the 2006-07 Class 6A state title before averaging 33 points for American Heritage in his senior season.
“Junior will fit best in an uptempo style of play,” Randall said. “The key will be him getting in the paint, off that pick-and-roll and making plays. That will determine the longevity of his professional career. It’s not over. I expect Junior to be a sleeper.”