Boykin works on trying to pry open some eyes
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org January 20, 2013 4:08PM
Miles Boykin, of Providence, drives past Seton's Mark Weems. l Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 22, 2013 6:09AM
The calls and letters are coming from schools such as Northwestern, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Georgia and Northern Illinois. Those aren’t exactly a bunch of small fish in the big pond of college athletics.
They’re all looking at Providence sophomore Miles Boykin, a 6-foot-5 forward who has been playing basketball way longer than he can remember.
But there’s a catch: Those schools are interested in Boykin for his football ability and not basketball.
“No matter where I went to high school, I was going to play basketball and football,” Boykin said. “It’s nice to get noticed for football because this school is big for football, but basketball is starting to get big, too.
“I started playing football when I was in sixth grade, but basketball I’ve been playing before I can even remember. My eighth-grade year, I never thought I was going to be a prospect for football. This is a surreal feeling.”
Boykin is averaging 7.7 rebounds and 13.4 points per game as the Celtics’ second-leading scorer behind Kevin Kozan’s team-leading 19.8 points per game average.
During football season he was a key component of the Celtics’ offense. As a wide receiver, Boykin had 12 catches for four touchdowns and averaged 21 yards per catch. Coach Mark Coglianese said that when Boykin was healthy, he was very difficult for opponents to handle.
Boykin’s injuries have been the only negatives in his Celtics career on the gridiron and hardwood.
In 2011, Boykin broke his left big toe during the Celtics’ final football game of the season. He didn’t know it was broken and he kept playing basketball on it until the pain became so bad he had to stop and get it checked out.
If he had waited any longer, Boykin would have had to have surgery. As it was, Boykin missed most of the basketball season, returning for the last three weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.
“It was awful,” Boykin said. “With every game that we lost, I just wanted to be out there with my teammates.”
Boykin’s injury issues continued this season when he sprained his left ankle twice during football season. He missed three games, but it could have been a lot worse. Boykin said he couldn’t even walk on it when he injured it the first time.
“I was blocking and someone fell on my leg and it twisted my ankle,” Boykin said. “I was thinking about (football) and I hated missing plays.”
If there is a negative with Boykin it’s that he’s too nice. Just ask basketball coach Tim Trendel.
“I think he’s one of those kids who is too nice,” Trendel said. “I’d like to see him get a little more meaner, a little tougher on the court with that mentality. But he’s just so nice and he just goes with it.”
The summer is going to be crucial in Boykin’s further development as a basketball player. He is bound to grow another inch or two and put on some weight on his thin frame.
More important, the exposure he’ll get on the AAU circuit should determine what collegiate path he takes: basketball or football. Trendel said interest from college basketball coaches in Boykin has been a little light.
But Trendel thinks that Providence’s games against highly ranked teams St. Rita and Seton will bring out the college coaches. Last week during the Celtics’ game against St. Rita, coaches from Illinois and DePaul came out to watch St. Rita players but also got a good look at Boykin.
“He just doesn’t have that name recognition yet,” Trendel said. “It’s such a different animal between football and basketball recruiting right now. I think it’s going to be a big spring and summer for him. People are going to start to follow him.
“People are waiting to see if he can shoot. A lot of what he’s done for us is inside and posting up. In major Division I basketball, he has to step out and shoot it, but he’s never been asked to do it.”
Boykin already has got the football resume down and his basketball resume to a certain extent. He knows he has the attention of Division I football coaches. What Boykin needs to do is open people’s eyes in the basketball community.
Boykin said he loves football just as much as basketball and begged his father to let him play when he was in middle school. So it’s not surprising when he said he still is considering playing both at the college level.
“It’s not over yet for me,” Boykin said. “I have two more years to go to decide what I want to do. I’m just going to wait until then. I hope I can play in college.”