Ivana Boyd tore the meniscus in her right knee May of 2014, a “freak injury” during conditioning drills near the end of the school year at Flagler Palm Coast.
The injury was severe, with an initial prognosis of a six-month recovery.
But the physical pain subsided more quickly than anticipated, and the injury did not require surgery. Instead, it was Boyd’s confidence that sustained the most damage in her junior year.
“I was ready physically. But I feel like, mentally, I was never ready,” Boyd said. “I wasn’t able to do what I was pushing myself to do.
“I would just have long stretches to where I’d just lose confidence in myself. It was like I was letting my team down because of the year I had before, and I knew they were expecting a lot out of me.”
The 2013-14 News-Journal Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Boyd is “100 percent” healthy, according to FPC coach Javier Bevacqua, and in the midst of a big summer.
Earlier this month, the 5-foot-8 guard picked up her first Division I offers from Jacksonville and Lamar (Texas). In addition, Bevacqua said Boyd is receiving major interest from Georgia Southern and James Madison.
“I knew I was good enough to play D-I basketball when I got (the offers),” Boyd said.
The Bulldogs posted the best season in school history last winter, finishing with a 25-5 record and advancing to the Class 8A Final Four for the first time. Entering regionals, FPC had not won a postseason game since 1977.
While Boyd was thrilled to be a part of the run, her numbers were significantly diminished from her stellar sophomore campaign. In 28 appearances, Boyd averaged just 5.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.9 steals per game, earning an All-Area honorable mention.
As Player of the Year, Boyd scored 12.0 points per game to go along with 6.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 5.0 steals.
Bevacqua said Boyd will transition into the role of point guard this season, taking over for Armani Walker, the 2014-15 Player of the Year and a Bethune-Cookman signee. He expects the best from Boyd, who he said is averaging about 16 points per game in summer camps with the Bulldogs.
“She’s been tearing it up and stepped in nicely in Armani’s place,” Bevacqua said. “It’s a natural fit. Ivana is someone who can run the point or, if needed, you can put her out on the wing. We like her with the ball in her hands and letting her make decisions.”
Boyd said she hopes to commit by mid-August. She previously has made an unofficial visit to Jacksonville and plans to take an official visit to Lamar from Aug. 1-3.
Boyd will head to Atlanta with her AAU team, Florida Girls Basketball, this coming week to play in front of college coaches during the summer’s second evaluation period. It’s a big opportunity for Boyd to grow her list of offers and her confidence.
“It doesn’t really put pressure on me,” Boyd said. “Now that I know I’m Division I-good, it’s going to make me go out there and say, ‘Hey, I’m just trying to play; not the same way I did in the first half (of the summer), but better.’ “