Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

The Florida Gators are back in the thick of things for Kenny Boynton (6-2, 180, Plantation, FL American Heritage) after an extraordinary unofficial visit last weekend to Gainesville. Boynton and his family came up, spent the day with Billy Donovan and the Florida coaching staff and by the time the day was over, the Gators were very much in the thick of things for the best class of 2009 scoring guard.

For the last three or four months, there was rampant speculation that Florida was out of the mix. Every time Boynton was interviewed, the talk centered around Duke and Memphis with very little mention of Florida. A lot of that had to do with the way the interviews were conducted. Kenny has kept a lot of things close to the vest and if you don’t ask a question about a certain school, chances are he won’t mention that school. So all this time we were hearing about Memphis and Duke, nobody was really asking questions about the Gators.

Fact is, the Gators have been in the running all along and now it seems they are pushing past everybody. There are a few good reasons for the surge.

1. EXCELLENT FRONT COURT RECRUITING: The Gators are absolutely stacked in the front court for the next two to three years with Dan Werner, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus already in school; Kenny Kadji, Eloy Vargas and Allan Chaney entering school in late June; and now with a 2009 recruiting class of Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin, Erik Murphy (6-11, 220, Southborough, MA St. Mark’s School) and Deshawn Painter (6-9, 210, Chatham, VA Hargrave Military Academy). A never-ending supply of bigs is a guard’s best friend, especially one like Boynton, who only needs a slight opening to get his shot off. When defenders sag to protect the middle, as they’re going to have to do against the Gators, shooters can get their shots. That’s a huge plus for the Gators.

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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.