OCEANSIDE — At age 34, Larry “Buddha” Boyd may be the oldest player to receive the California Community Colleges Association Men’s Basketball All-State award, which named him among the top eight Southern California players.
On the court Boyd’s skill as a player outshines his age. The 6-foot-4-inch forward averaged 21.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game this season. He helped lead the MiraCosta Spartans to this year’s playoffs, where they lost to the top state team.
“My dream was always to become a professional basketball player,” Boyd said. “Now that dream is a step closer to coming true.”
In his freshman year at MiraCosta, Boyd ranked as the ninth leading scorer in the state with 18.6 points per game. He was voted First Team All-Conference, and earned All-State Honorable Mention.
The nickname “Buddha” was given to him by fans.
Boyd said he came close to giving up his dream of playing professional basketball, but believed in himself and pursued a series of opportunities that got him back into the game.
After serving in the Air Force for 10 years, he joined a military basketball team.
MiraCosta College Head Coach and Athletic Director Patrick Conahan was at a tournament game to scout Boyd’s teammate, when Boyd’s talent caught his eye.
The coach talked with Boyd, and eventually convinced him to move to the area, from Killeen, Texas, and join the team.
“He brings a lot to the team,” Conahan said. “He’s the leading scoring rebounder. We’re lucky to have him.”
Boyd scored about a third of the team’s overall points per game.
He is also well liked by his teammates, whose average age is 20.
Boyd said he looks younger than his age, and teammates were initially shocked when they found out his seniority.
He added his age served as an advantage in the wisdom he could share with younger teammates, like the importance of taking care of your body and having a strong work ethic.
Boyd said what he loves about basketball is the life lessons it reflects, from leaning on teammates to help you through tough times, to coming back to score.
He said he hopes kids are inspired by his story.
“Dreams are possible as long as you believe in yourself, and put the work in,” Boyd said.
Boyd graduates MiraCosta College this month with an associate degree in liberal arts/kinesiology.
He is now considering offers from universities and international teams.