Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

It was in the summer of 2007 that Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight were paired together in the backcourt on the AAU circuit for Fort Lauderdale-based Team Breakdown. There they were, two of the top guard prospects in the country, both with a reputation for coming up big on the offensive end of the court, particularly with games on the line. After a couple of practices, both of them knew something had to give.

“To tell you the truth, I was pretty much just a scorer back then,” said Boynton, a 6-2, 180-pound guard from American Heritage School in Plantation who will sign his scholarship papers tomorrow for the University of Florida. “That summer was right after my tenth grade year and I’m playing with Brandon Knight (who had just finished his ninth grade year at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale). The choice was do we hog the ball and shoot it or do we learn to share it? We decided to pass the ball and the first thing I noticed was that when we pass the ball, we started winning.”

It sounds so simple, but actually it was a life-changing moment for Boynton, who might go down as the best prep basketball player in state history by the time he completes his senior year at American Heritage. Boynton came to AHS after the summer of 2007 when he and Knight teamed up with Gator freshman Eloy Vargas to lead Team Breakdown to the AAU national championship.

At American Heritage, he had another life-changing moment. That’s when he embraced the philosophies of Coach Danny Herz and became a pit bull of a defender on the perimeter.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.