Boys Basketball: Providence’s Miles Boykin settling in to leader’s role
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org January 9, 2014 8:56PM
Miles Boykin, of Providence (left) l File photo
When Miles Boykin, freshly off football, went high into the air, landed on a bent-over Joliet Central player and hit his head on the floor, the crowd watching the championship game of the WJOL Thanksgiving Classic held its collective breath.
During the subsequent timeout, Providence coach Tim Trendel drew up a play. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Boykin knew his assignment, but when he walked back onto the court, he thought, “What is it that I’m supposed to do?”
Boykin, who had headaches afterward, went through the protocol and indeed was diagnosed with a concussion, a first despite all the time he has spent as a Division I prospect at receiver. In fact, he was named one of the top performers at the recent Under Armour national football combine for touted juniors.
“He (the concussion) might have slipped through the cracks if not for the protocol that’s in place,” Trendel said.
Boykin missed five basketball games, during which the Celtics went 1-4. The losses were to Mount Carmel, St. Joseph, Rich East and Fenwick, as difficult a stretch as Providence will face. A much-anticipated season had run into an early detour.
The Celtics, however, are back to the .500 mark at 7-7. Boykin returned for the York Christmas Tournament and had eight points and nine rebounds in the Celtics’ 44-33 win Jan. 4 over Joliet Catholic. He feels good physically, but Trendel said strategies on different ways to employ Boykin’s talents are just getting implemented.
“Everyone is adjusting to playing with Miles, now he has to adjust to his new role,” Trendel said.
A team that had belonged to point guard Kevin Kozan, a freshman at Henderson State in Arkansas, is Boykin’s.
“He’s the guy now and is still adjusting to it,” Trendel said. “He’s a pass-first, shoot-second guy and now he needs to be more aggressive with scoring. He has a quiet disposition, a comfortable demeanor. He is accustomed to taking five, six, seven shots a night. Now he needs to take 15.”
“We sped up our game a lot when I wasn’t able to play,” Boykin said. “I feel I can calm the team down. I’m a naturally unselfish person. But I’ll do what it takes to win. I’ll probably be shooting more away from the basket the rest of the year.”
Boykin acknowledges the Celtics’ disappointment in having a .500 record.
“We definitely did not start the way we wanted — we wanted to win the WJOL Tournament, not finish second — and then we went downhill a bit. We’re still trying to get it back. We have to keep grinding.”
Boykin averaged a double-double as a sophomore, when he was an All-Catholic League selection. Still, football is his game. Among those who have offered him are Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Mississippi, Toledo, Virginia Tech, Western Michigan and Wisconsin. Iowa, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Vanderbilt and Ohio State also have shown interest.
“My decision hopefully will be made sometime early in my senior year,” Boykin said. “I do plan to see Oregon over spring break and then see where things stand. Most say wide receiver is my position, some say tight end. It doesn’t matter as long as they put me someplace they believe I can play.”
Meanwhile, as long as he comes out of next football season healthy, Boykin plans to play his senior season of basketball.
“In a school like ours, with 500 to 600 boys, you need the best athletes playing as many sports as possible,” Trendel said. “Miles does not slight one or the other. He gives basketball its due. He doesn’t want to let down one set of teammates.”