Jekyll and Hyde personality works for Boyd

by Will Steingreaber

Nick Boyd is a bit of a paradox; a walking, talkingcontradiction of soft smiles and hard-nosed aggression.

Boyd, a senior men’s basketball player at Simpson, typifies the”good ol’ Iowa boy” through polite mannerisms and a constantlypositive attitude. With his refreshingly old-fashioned style, Boydhas become the type of man that mother’s want their daughters tomarry. But when you unleash him on the basketball court, Boyd is adifferent type of beast.

Boyd, a graduate of Southeast Polk High School, came to Simpsonin the fall of 2000 for all the right reasons. Noting a schoolrevered for its academics and discovering a system he fit in withperfectly, Boyd knew Simpson was the place for him from day one. Itdidn’t hurt that it was so close to home.

“Location was a big part of my decision as well. It’s nice thatit’s close enough my folks can come down and watch the games,” saidBoyd.

Understanding Boyd is impossible without appreciating the rolethat his parents have played in his life.

“My dad taught me everything, like how to shoot, and promoted astrong work ethic. He showed me that to excel, you have to workhard. He coached me in sports when I was younger, and both of myparents have been great supporters,” Boyd said.

This work ethic copiously emanates from Boyd’s personality, offand on the floor. Boyd is one of the last of a rare and dying breedthat still heeds the term “student-athlete”.

A math major, Boyd takes his classroom work as seriously as theIIAC competition. But before you think you’ve trapped the essenceof Boyd somewhere between an algebra equation and a hard workout,you should witness his game firsthand.

In a sport perpetually evolving from fundamental skill tohigh-flying acrobatics, Boyd plays basketball the way it was meantto be played: hard.

At this breakneck pace, he comes unchained from personalconvictions and renders opponents useless with his array of smoothjumpshots and rugged elbows. Players twice his size put their livesin danger when Boyd drives down the lane, and the thundering voicesof Simpson students chanting “You’ve been BOYD-ed!” echounabashedly through Cowles Fieldhouse.

This season Boyd is third on the team in scoring, averaging 9.2points per game, and he leads the team in three-point field goalpercentage.

At the Illinois College Tournament in December, 2003 Boyd tookhome MVP honors. An unusual aspect of Boyd’s game is that hedoesn’t even start, in fact, he averages a little over 17 minutes agame of playing time. He couldn’t care less.

“It’s not about me,” Boyd said. “I’m a part of a team. Coachmakes it a point of having 10 starters, and that’s where he needsme to be. We have good chemistry that way.”

However, Boyd has a side to him that most would think twiceabout. Earlier this fall, Boyd got engaged to his girlfriend, astudent at Central College in Pella.

But before you start shouting “heresy” or “sacrilege” in unison,at least give him a chance to explain.

“We actually went to the same high school. She was a year olderthan me, but we went to the same church and got to know each otherwell through that,” Boyd said. “At first she wanted me to do wellbut Central to win. Now she says she cheers for us to win too, butsometimes I wonder. The Simpson and Central rivalry is a goodconversation piece though.”

Judging by his past decisions, things will more than likely workout, but not until Boyd and the team take care of some unfinishedbusiness.

“We have some goals to achieve. We want to win out the rest ofthe games and then win the conference tournament. We want to get tonationals,” said Boyd.

Boyd is doing his part, stepping up in his final season tobecome a leader on the hardwood and the classroom. Yet he leads byactions and not by words, an anomaly among the normalcy of collegeathletes. It’s a part of his personality, he claims.

“I don’t like to come in second. I just try to do things thebest that I can.”