Boerwinkle played for the University of Tennessee and helped the team win the 1967 Southeastern Conference championship. The next year he was named a Helms Foundation first-team all-American.
Boerwinkle was drafted as the 4th pick of the 1968 NBA Draft and played with the Bulls until 1978. Although largely unappreciated during his playing days, Boerwinkle was a very efficient player, using his brawny seven-foot frame to grab rebounds and set picks while teammates like Jerry Sloan, Chet Walker and Bob Love did most of the scoring. In addition, he contributed with his passing skills, averaging 3.2 assists per game during his career. On January 8, 1970, Boerwinkle set a Bulls record by grabbing 37 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns. He retired with career totals of 4,596 points, 5,745 rebounds, and 2,007 assists. Boerwinkle also had five triple doubles in his career.