A Titan Named Brody Boyer
Make no mistake, Brody Boyer has plenty of swag, on and off the basketball court. Away from the gym he sports gold chains, wears earrings, has a large tattoo on his left leg and a mullet haircut. “Who the heck has a mullet and is a great player?” asks Eastern Florida St. Coach Jeremy Shulman jokingly. “But he just has that personality where everyone loves him. He gets along with everyone and is a very cool kid.”
On the court Boyer also knows what he wants. Boyer had no college offers after he finished playing at Bayside High School in Palm Bay Fla. It didn’t matter. Ever since he was a junior in high school, Boyer, 6-4, knew where he wanted to go: Eastern Florida St., about half an hour from his house.
“I felt like it was the right place for me, and it was an opportunity to stay home,” said Boyer. Shulman liked what he saw on the floor in workouts. “I had seen him on video tape but when he visited campus and played with our guys, where I could see him in person, I immediately knew I had to coach this kid,” said Shulman. “He was tough, and he proved that while he was here for the visit. He gets hit and doesn’t flinch. He gives up his body and dives for loose balls. He has a high motor, to be sure. I knew he would impact our team. And he is such a great kid.”
Still, Boyer was only a walk on, a redshirt until seven games into the 2019-20 season. That’s when the redshirt came off and he played. When he was a sophomore he became the starting point guard, just before EFS’s first game. “It was cool,” said Boyer. “Coach made the (scholarship) announcement after practice one day in front of the whole team.” Naturally, a celebration was in order, dog pile and all.
Boyer put an exclamation point on his career by hitting back-to-back buzzer-beaters – he had never hit a winning bucket before then. His final shot beat then No. 4 National JC Athletic Association ranked Chipola (73-71) in overtime Nov. 12; the next game he repeated the feat and Eastern Florida St. beat State College of Florida (71-69).
“It was better the first night, but it was still a good moment the second time around,” said Boyer. “It was a great experience, one of the best basketball weekends I’ve ever had.”
Boyer was always a gym rat and that didn’t hurt his game. “He watches extra tape with me and gets extra skill work with my assistant coaches (Austin Awad, Douglas Byrd, Lynn Cundiff, David Gale and Lucas Houchin). He does everything he can to get better.”
Boyer says he copies little things from college and NBA players alike and incorporates them into his overall game, which in turn has made him a unique player. Shulman says he has the game of Kevin Pritchard of the Boston Celtics. Good comparison, said Boyer; he also admires Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard. It has all made Boyer a force, a player that many times draws nervous glances and second takes from opponents once he steps on the floor.
State College of Florida Coach Tom Parks, a one-time assistant coach at Eastern Florida St., says he has always been a big fan of Boyer’s game. Parks admits that if you don’t know the game of hoops well, Boyer won’t wow you. “Brody’s athleticism won’t grab you and he won’t make the loud plays,” said Parks. “He simply makes the right play at the right time. He never forces the issue and always makes the extra pass. You can tell he’s a leader, rare at the junior college level. It makes him special. Brody just stays the course and works and makes his teammates better. He's an unbelievable competitor.”
When Boyer signed in the early period with Cleveland St., Parks almost felt as if one of his own players signed. “I was beyond proud,” said Parks. “I think what he does is so under-valued. I truly believe Cleveland St. found a gem, someone who will flourish in their system and the program’s culture.”
Boyer’s high school coach, Daniel Miller, is a fan, too. He remembers Boyer as, “intimidated his freshman season. But I knew he was going to be special. I was aware of his skill as far back as the fifth grade.”
Miller then was an assistant coach for a summer team called Triple Threat Basketball. Boyer was a good player on the team. But a series of fractures in high school slowed him. At the end of his freshman season he broke both feet and was in a wheelchair for 14 weeks. About halfway through his sophomore season he broke his right foot and was on crutches nine weeks. And then going into his junior season he broke that right foot again. The crutches came back for another nine weeks.
To be sure, his future was in doubt. “When he went to Eastern Florida St. I told him it was an opportunity and that he just had to work hard once he got there,” said Miller. “I knew with his work ethic that he was going to be okay.” His game, nasty in its own way, has put Boyer's name and game among Florida’s talented players. The state and its schools have long been considered the best in the National JC Athletic Association.
His teammates claim Boyer takes everything – winning and losing – in stride. Justin Reid says he is a “true leader on the floor. He makes sure that you are where you are supposed to be. He’s a hard worker but a better person. He was quiet when I first met him but now he’s a little bit more vocal.” Chris Roth has known Boyer since kindergarten. “There was always a lot of intensity when we played in high school, but he has become one of my best friends,” said Roth. “On the floor he leads by example. He’s not a nagger. I know that he takes basketball more seriously than he used to.”
While some players have a hard time juggling books and basketball, Boyer had a 4.0 GPA his first year at Eastern Florida St. and got one B in his second season academically. He has a cumulative 3.93 grade point average. After his second season (2020-21) at Eastern Florida St., he was named Region 8’s (Florida) Hal Chasey Scholar-Athlete of the Year – the first player so named at Eastern Florida St. since 2014 – for outstanding academic achievement, athletic achievement and service to the community. He was an NJCAA All-Academic First Team member that same season.
Away from basketball, Boyer remembers those not as fortunate. During the hurricane season, he helps citizens of south Florida put up shutters. He remembers families in the community during the holidays, too. He puts Thanksgiving baskets together and delivers them and is a volunteer gift wrapper at Christmas.
“I feel blessed in my life to meet and to have so many great people around me,” said Boyer, “and so I try to help.” Having the total package, on and off the court, has paid off handsomely for Boyer. He believed in himself. Now he has a NCAA Division l scholarship. He is, to be sure, a BMOC (Big Man On Campus) at Eastern Florida St. More importantly, he has a name – on and off the court – worth remembering, no matter what he looks like or what he wears.
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