As his recuperation progressed, Devin Boyd's inclination to sit out the rest of this basketball season heightened.
A senior guard from Walbrook High, Boyd yesterday made official what has been expected at Towson State for the past month: He will not play again this season, and instead will apply for a medical hardship from the NCAA and rejoin the Tigers for the 1992-93 season.
Boyd suffered a fracture in his right elbow midway through the second half of Towson State's season opener at Colorado. The arm was in a cast for three weeks, and he was expected to miss six to eight weeks. Surgical pins in the joint will remain there for at least an additional 10 days, and even if his recovery were proceeding better than it is, Boyd most likely would have made the decision he did.
"I decided at the beginning of this week that I was going to go ahead and redshirt this season and come back next year," Boyd said yesterday. "I was always leaning toward that decision, but I still needed to take my time and talk to a couple of people about it."
In conversations with family members, the Towson State coaching staff and Gus Herrington, his coach at Walbrook, Boyd found more reasons to sit out this season than there were to attempt a comeback in mid-January.
The clincher was Towson State's conference situation. This is the Tigers' last season in the East Coast Conference, which lost its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Two weeks ago, the university announced that it will be joining the Big South Conference next September, giving Boyd a shot at his third NCAA appearance in 1993.
"That was a big incentive," Boyd said. "I'm excited about playing in the Big South, going to new places.It's going to be just like my freshman year."
One of the most honored players in Towson State history, Boyd was the ECC Rookie of the Year in 1988-89 and its Player of the Year last season. He is interested in a professional career, but now he will be on campus next fall and finish work on his degree in mass communications.
"I didn't go into this year thinking I was going to be drafted or anything," Boyd said. "The NBA draft is only two rounds to begin with, and Towson State doesn't get the recognition. One more year in college will give me a better chance anyway. I'm going to come back stronger than ever. I'm already shooting better with my left hand."
Boyd was primed for this season. The first half at Colorado was the best of his collegiate career. His numbers that night left him with 1,378 career points and 358 assists. He needs eight assists to get the Towson State record and is 454 points from the scoring mark.
Minus Boyd, freshman Terrance Alexander has moved into the starting lineup and is averaging 15.0 points. The Tigers miss Boyd's direction, however, as they will take a 2-7 record into tomorrow's game at Youngstown State.
"I've been down because I wish I could help them," Boyd said. "I don't know what the answer is. They played well against North Carolina and Maryland, but someone needs to step up now and be the leader.
"My decision would have been harder if I was ready to play, but I know I'm not at 100 percent yet. I can dribble with my right hand and take layups, but my arm isn't strong enough to shoot outside shots. Just today, our team doctor [Dr. Ken Gertsen] decided against taking the pins out of my arm. He's not confident with me scrimmaging, and getting bumped around. Even with that, my rehab is going well."