Boyd overcomes waisted summer SHAPING UP TOWSON

January 25, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

The development and growth of Towson State's Devin Boyd has been steady and, at times, spectacular.

But even Boyd admits that he grew a little too much last year.

When Boyd stepped on the court in November 1991 to start what was supposed to be his senior season, the 6-foot-2 point guard weighed 190 pounds. A broken elbow suffered that night at the University of Colorado forced him to take an injury redshirt season, and Boyd followed the first R of rest and recuperation too literally.

Last August he weighed 217 pounds, and when practice began Nov. 1, he was still at 210.

"I didn't do anything last summer to improve my game, or stay in shape," Boyd said. "We're on our own in the summer, and you have to be self-motivated. I don't know why I got lazy. People warned me, but I never thought I'd get that big.

"I had a summer job as a security guard watching the monitors at a building on St. Paul. I worked different shifts, sometimes the graveyard, and I didn't know what day of the week it was. I eat too much fast food to begin with. You don't see yourself getting bigger in the mirror."

One of Boyd's major attributes always has been a quick first step that leads to a pull-up jumper, a trip to the free-throw line or a double-team and an assist. Because of a change in NCAA rules, basketball teams lost two weeks of preseason practice this season. More than most, Boyd paid for the late start.

On Jan. 6, he was breathing heavily in the second minute against George Mason. Boyd was strong at the end, however, scoring 28 points in a victory that began a new year. Since then, Boyd has warmed up, and the Tigers (8-6) have gone 6-1, establishing themselves as favorites in their new conference, the Big South.

Boyd invited coach Terry Truax to weigh in last Wednesday, when the scale stopped at 194.

"Of course, he didn't have any clothes on," Truax said. "Seriously, it's pleasing to see Devin regain some of his quickness, get out on the break and dunk again. He's getting more attention from pro scouts than he knows, but the preseason work was up to him. Remember, he's a fifth-year senior."

Truax has been expecting more from Boyd since 1988, when he arrived as a first-team All-Metro player out of Walbrook High. Boyd has symbolized the Tigers' recruiting success in the Baltimore area.

"Everyone else thinks of Kurk Lee and the other transfers getting us over the hump, but our winning didn't stop with them," Truax said. "If there's a common denominator in our success, a guy who over the long haul has had the most impact, it's Devin. Besides the leadership he gives us, he's been a magnet, someone who attracted other kids here."

Other locals had signed letters of intent with Towson State in the 1980s but didn't last, and Truax and assistant Jim Meil, his chief recruiter, credit Boyd with making it fashionable to check out the Tigers first.

Boyd was East Coast Conference Rookie of the Year in 1988-89. That season and the next, when the Tigers won the first of three straight ECC titles, the cast included Dunbar's Lee and two other Baltimoreans, Kelly Williamson and Kennell Jones.

In 1991, Boyd was ECC Player of the Year and the Towson State freshmen included Broadneck's Matt Campbell and Wilde Lake's Craig Valentine. The following year, the Tigers got The Baltimore Sun's Player of the Year, Scooter Alexander, out of Dunbar. This year's freshmen include Quintin Moody out of Cardinal Gibbons and Walbrook's Stevie Thomas.

That's six of the 11 players Truax is using. Towson State is the wild-card entry among four programs being mentioned by Dunbar All-American Keith Booth, the others being Duke, Kentucky and Maryland.

"Every young kid wants to go to Duke or Michigan, but not everyone can," Boyd said. "I've never thought of myself as a Pied Piper or anything like that, but if the guys that followed me don't see anyone else from Baltimore here, maybe they don't come."

Admitting that he wasn't quite ready for a major conference is a rare moment of modesty for Boyd, whose game thrives on confidence. He grew up in West Baltimore tagging after three older brothers -- one of them, Andre, helped Robert Morris to a pair of Northeast Conference titles -- and Devin never backed down.

As a high school sophomore, in November 1985, he helped Walbrook beat Dunbar, ending the Poets' local win streak that dated to March 1981. Eight games into his college career, he already had held his own against N.C. State's Chris Corchiani and Virginia's John Crotty.

"He's a very confident, strong point guard and scorer," UMBC coach Earl Hawkins said. "In Towson State's system, the guards are asked to do a lot of scoring, but he can do whatever's asked of him. Every night, you're going to get 20 points from him, consistent defense and smart decision-making."

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