Prepping for the next step

Joel Boyce made a name for himself at Allen Community College this past season, and is now planning his next move in his basketball journey.

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Sports

April 14, 2020 - 10:18 AM

Joel Boyce goes through his free-throw routine for ACC this season. Photo by REGISTER/ERICK MITCHELL / Iola Register

Joel Boyce needed only one season to showcase his basketball talents for Allen Community College. The 6-4 redshirt sophomore averaged 16.3 points per game on 49.5% shooting, good enough for All-KJCCC second-team honors.  

Now, Boyce is planning his next move for his final two years of eligibility. And with planning comes preparing. Instead of heading home, the Houston native is staying put in Allen County. 

“At home, everything is closed down, so I figured I might as well come back to school,” Boyce said. “They give us food here, and I have the keys to the gym. So I would rather be in the gym working out opposed to doing nothing.”

Boyce has received numerous NCAA Division II offers, and is hoping to find a university with a good nursing school, his future profession of choice.

Intending to return to Texas to be near his family, Boyce has garnered interest from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. 

Before coming to ACC, Boyce spent a year at Coppin State in Baltimore, Md., and last year at Pensacola State College. At Pensacola, Boyce built a close relationship with assistant coach Stedman Allen, who became an assistant at ACC and thus prompting Boyce to follow Allen to Iola. Boyce admits his playing carousel has been a unique experience. 

“It’s interesting,” Boyce said. “Every school that I go to, I end up learning new stuff. I get to travel the country, learn how people live in different cultures, and really just learn to be more open-minded.”

In a normal world without social distancing due to COVID-19, Boyce would be making visits to find his fourth destination in his line of moves. At the moment, visits are off on all campuses due to the highly contagious coronavirus, leaving Boyce with one option — improve.

“I workout every day,” Boyce said. “Not necessarily basketball, but bodywise too. I’m working on getting more agile, and being able to jump higher — two things I think will help enhance my game. I’m doing a lot of strength training, but I can’t get too big, so it’s a lot of endurance stuff with light weights and lots of reps.”

Though his future may lie in doubt, Boyce is confident he will find the right home. 

“At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason,” Boyce said. “I feel like I played really well, and my numbers were good, so the schools that are reaching out now are the schools that want me. I feel like I need to go where I’m wanted.” 

THIS past season, the highly efficient Boyce helped lead the Red Devils to an 11-game winning streak. During the streak ACC took down no. 5 Hutchinson Community College, and Boyce was pleased to have set the standard for future Red Devils.  

“I was actually surprised, because Allen is not known to beat Hutch, Seward, or to sweep the whole other side,” Boyce said. “We only lost one game to a team on the other side of the conference, and were ranked no. 22 in the country. To be ranked in the top 25, you just can’t have two players scoring 20 points a game. It needs to be a full team effort from the best player all the way to the 12th player on the team.”

Boyce’s basketball experience at ACC may have not only helped evolve his game, but also help him take steps in becoming a better role model on the court for his teammates. 

“It was fun, and I learned a lot,” Boyce said. “I kind of took on a veteran’s role, where I had to mentor a lot of the younger guys, and I liked it. They listened, and held me to a higher standard because they helped me realize I always need to be on my Ps and Qs because I have people looking at what I’m doing.”

His decision on his future may not be for some time, but when reflecting on his time in Kansas, Boyce highlights it was special. On game days, Boyce enjoyed recognizing familiar faces following their season each step of the way. But when introduced into the starting five, nothing beat a fist bump or high five from super-fan Steve Uitts. 

“I don’t know who supports a team better than him,” Boyce said. “He might be in competition with Spike Lee!”

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