Jan. 23, 2004
USC Sports Information sat down with senior captain Mike Boynton, Jr. to talk about the 16-2 start, the team, leadership — anything and everything. The Gamecocks play the Tigers at 7:30 pm on Saturday night at the Colonial Center. Tickets do remain.
USC Sports Information: Did you ever imagine you would be 16-2 at this point of the season, at the beginning of the year?
Mike Boynton Jr.: Absolutely not. If someone had told me at the end of last season that next season your going to lose four seniors and Rolando Howell, who is your only returning post player, would miss 12 games and after 18 games you would be 16-2 I would have laughed at them and I would have bet my house that it wouldn’t have happened. At the same time I have been involved in the process of this team developing and the guys have been working hard and we are starting to see the change now.
USCSI: Why is the chemistry on this team so good?
MB: Because everybody believes in each other. Nobody on this team questions the guy next to them or the coaching staff. Everyone knows that the coaching staff has been down the road and knows what it takes. We have a cohesiveness that is unmatched on any team I have ever been on.
USCSI: If you were a fan what part of Gamecock basketball would you like the best?
MB: Right now I would probably say Renaldo Balkman jumping up and down and getting excited and shaking his hair. I love that and it gets the crowd going and we need that.
USCSI: What part of the Gamecocks would you most like to see improved if you were a fan?
MB: If we could shoot every game like we did against Tennessee that would make life a little bit easier for everyone. We just want to continue to improve our offense, defense, and overall play.
USCSI: Coach Odom said that you were one of the best leaders he has coached-comparing you to Wake Forest star Randolph Childress, how did you develop those skills?
MB: I just felt that the team needed somebody to step up. We are a very young team and if we didn’t have someone step up and lead then we would have had some problems. I’ve been on some pretty bad teams here. Last year we struggled and we don’t want to revisit that so I took it upon myself to step up my leadership role and my work ethic. I wanted to be more vocal and lead the young guys in the right direction.
USCSI: What is the best part of being a member of this team?
MB: Being with the guys everyday. It’s not winning, it’s the fact that everyday I come to practice and I am excited about it. I’m excited to work for the guys, get better, and see the others grow. It’s great to see this program moving in the right direction.
USCSI: What is your favorite moment of the game?
MB: My favorite part of the game is the last four minutes especially when I am in there leading the team.
USCSI: What is your most memorable moment as a Gamecock?
MB: The funniest moment has to be the Travis Kraft three-pointer to win against Florida my freshman year. I don’t think anything can top that.
USCSI: After last weekend’s win over Tennessee you were pretending to direct the band-any musical inspirations?
MB: I was kind of in the moment. I was excited that we played well and wanted to show the fans our lighter side. Everything is not all business and we have fun.
USCSI: What do you expect from the crowd at the LSU game?
MB: I hope we can get a full house in here. I know that they will come and be ready to cheer for us and root us on for another victory.
USCSI: One word that describes the USC fans?
USCSI: One word that describes Coach Odom?
MB: Knowledgeable. I’ve learned a lot from him about both life and basketball.