Chip on Keylan Boone's Shoulder Pays Dividends with Double/Double in UTA Win
The Boone twins have always been just a little bit different, okay, maybe a lot different. Kalib is the squared away player that would take coach's instructions and translate them to his game. Keylan is the freelancer that would use his natural talents to do the things that are special, but not always on command. Don't look now, but after a season where he saw Kalib, who is 6-9 and more of a natural forward, surge ahead in playing time and hearing his name called in the starting line-up Keylan is coming around.
There is no confusion that the nation's top recruit and a preseason Associated Press All-American in Cade Cunningham with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists in his collegiate debut is the top story of the Cowboys 75-68 opening win on the road at Texas-Arlington. Keylan Boone's second career start (first at Baylor last season) was the second best story of the contest. Boone had 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting and 12 rebounds.
"Obviously rebounding the ball. I'm an energy guy, very intense player, and try to keep my energy high and keep defenders on their toes," Boone said of his contributions to the win. "Other than that, it's just being a good teammate, that's probably the best thing I could have done.
"I'm playing very aggressive now, I'm not trying to be passive like I was last year," the 6-7 swing man and lively personality continued. "I feel like my main role last year was just to rebound and shoot open ones but now since I've got a bigger role, I have to be more in the plays. I'm just trying to make myself known everytime I'm on the court, whether that's rebounding, shooting 3's, guarding, or being vocal. The little stuff matters to me this year."
An identified weakness by head coach Mike Boynton and the coaching staff in preseason practice, Boone saw an opportunity and showed his ability to morph into the player his team needed him to be.
"Yeah, he really has. I talk to Keylan about being willing and able to play differently than he did in high school," Boynton explained. "He was allowed to just kind of play on the perimeter and shoot a bunch of jump shots, even though that's something he still does that really well. We need him to rebound for us and defend bigger guys and to his credit, he hasn't flinched or questioned it."
Boone, like the Cowboys is far from the finished product. He hit a three, but on 1-for-6 shooting he'd better start hitting more or lay off taking six shots. He showed good defensive tendencies as well with solid play on that end of the floor.
Down the stretch of a game that was staying almost too close for comfort, Keylan stayed in the game and played good defense and collected some important late boards, nine of his rebounds were on the defensive end.