When we last encountered Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim, he was complaining about the media focusing on the Big Ten, who according to him “sucked” last year. In his view, the Big Ten was just a bunch of brand names that couldn’t actually prove anything against actual competition, but because the names of the teams were so prominent the media had to focus on them.
He said this while head coach of an ACC team, mind you.
Anyway, his team got an opportunity to prove the ACC’s worth in Champaign and responded by serving up a triple-double to Coleman Hawkins of the Fighting Illini in a lifeless blowout.
So what’s he been up to since then in his 47th season at the helm?
Why, complaining about NIL of course!
“This is an awful place we’re in in college basketball,” Boeheim told ESPN. “Pittsburgh bought a team. OK, fine. My [big donor] talks about it, but he doesn’t give anyone any money. Nothing. Not one guy. Our guys make like $20,000. Wake Forest bought a team. Miami bought a team. … It’s like, ‘Really, this is where we are?’ That’s really where we are, and it’s only going to get worse.”
The Pitt team he accused of being bought, by the way, is powered by a player from Pittsburgh, a guy that didn’t play much in his prior two seasons, a bench player from Marquette who came to Pitt to rejoin an assistant that took a job there and a former JUCO player that West Virginia didn’t want anymore.
Boeheim has since clarified that he really only meant Miami; Pitt and Wake Forest Demon Deacons just got caught in the crosshairs. It’s pretty funny that he walked back his criticism BUT NOT FOR MIAMI, but what’s pathetic is where his criticism really comes from: the idea that a team that was bad last year and was expected to be bad this year can only win some games if they buy a team.
Wake, Pitt and Miami were all above the Orange in the standings when the 78-year-old Boeheim did the old-man-yelling-at-cloud routine above, and so he just fired off some old-man grievances.
Of course, we in the college basketball media sphere are expected to take seriously everything he says because after all, he’s a College Basketball Hall Of Famer Person.
Here’s a question.
Has Jim Boeheim Ever Been The Best Coach In His Conference?
Not according to his metrics he hasn’t! Remember, only the NCAA tournament counts!
Syracuse was independent in 1976 when Boeheim took over and was then invited in 1979 to join the Big East, where he was immediately the contemporary of John Thompson, Rollie Massimino and Lou Carnesecca. The first two won national titles at Georgetown Hoyas and Villanova Wildcats, while the third went 526-200 at St. John’s before retiring in 1993.
Then one year, a top-10 scorer in NBA history got lost on his way to the league and spent a year playing for Syracuse. Carmelo Anthony carried Boeheim kicking and screaming to the 2003 national championship. Despite the 2-3 zone creating stylistic mismatches in the tournament more often than not and giving his team a path to overachieve in the postseason, this is his only national championship. This would bolster his argument for “best coach in the Big East at the time” if it didn’t come in between national titles for Jim Calhoun’s UConn Huskies.
In 2013, Syracuse joined the ACC where Boeheim’s competition included Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams. He must be taking his “only the tournament matters” mantra to heart because his Orange haven’t won a conference regular season or tournament title since joining the league. In fact, every team but his first ACC squad has lost at least 10 regular season games!
I had some fun scrolling through Boeheim’s year-by-year record. The guy currently crying about his competition using methods he finds unethical has been banned from two postseasons, suspended for 9 regular season games and had wins vacated in four other seasons. Hey there buddy, are you sure you’re not just mad that people aren’t getting in trouble for paying players anymore?
This is an era where players have some leverage and many of them want to come out of college with the best possible shot at the NBA. This means they don’t want to play your 2-3 zone, but more than that it means they don’t want to play for a vindictive and petty tyrant of a coach who has a well-documented history of trying to burn down the NBA draft prospects of players who don’t do exactly as he says or who leave before he’s ready for them to leave.
Our Rutgers contributor RU in VA has some thoughts on his old colleague:
Jim Boeheim is a turd. Syracuse has the eternal little buddy syndrome to Rutgers (imagine any college being a little buddy to RU?). Remember in 2015 when Syracuse got some NCAA violations and put their football and basketball teams on “probation” for 5 years? I remember.
The net cause of that self imposed probation was that players were heading down the local YMCA and boosters were giving them cash, drugs, and scholastic cheating. The standard UNC Saturday. Boeheim fucking continued to blame the YMCA administrator, even in his typed-up-PR-101 notice to the press. A real asshole that hasn’t gotten any better.
Cause #2 - his son, Buddy Boeheim (I should have been able to tell that a guy who’s okay with a name alliteration is weird) punched a kid from Florida State in the stomach during an ACC Tournament game last year. Wasn’t called, and the ACC retroactively gave Buddy the kid a T2. Get this, then Boeheim proceeded to BLAME THE REFS for missing the call, while his kid is delivering body shots to FSU players in transition.
I hate Izzo geriatrically barking at the refs as much as the next guy, but damn - Boeheim makes Tom Izzo look like Mike McDaniel.
While our Iowa contributor StewMonkey13 suggested that he’s like the Kirk Ferentz of college hoops but has worse assistants and refuses to shut the hell up, he also compares to Joe Paterno in literally the worst possible way. I would be remiss if I did not mention the Bernie Fine thing, because that happened under the same Jim Boeheim that is bemoaning the horrible state of college basketball.