Jim Boeheim

After getting win no. 900, Jim Boeheim takes stand on gun control


Well, it didn’t take long for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to move past win no. 900, huh?

After collecting the historic win, Boeheim used his platform at the podium in the postgame press conference to call for quick action on gun control after the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.

Say what you want about him — which on a night like this, is a lot of nice things — but he keeps it interesting, at the very least.

The quotes  from the press conference, coming after the Orange’s 72-68 victory over Detroit, are courtesy of Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard.

“This will probably offend some people,’’ Boeheim said, prefacing his remarks. “If we in this country as Americans cannot get the people that represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society. I’m a hunter. I’ve hunted. I’m not talking about rifles. That’s fine. If one person in this world; the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing. This is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All of your faults if we don’t get out and do something about this.’’

I’m not going to use this space to put my beliefs in front of those looking for college basketball. But to Boeheim’s credit, he did what I’d love to hear someone with some sway do. He took a moment, even one that was totally his, and used it, as a person of his stature can do, to say something that goes beyond basketball. Whether I agree or not, it’s refreshing to see.

Anyway, he went on.

“I saw one guy, a representative I was very proud of, somebody in his state had just come out and said ‘We need more guns. We don’t need less. We need to give teachers gun so they can shoot people.’ Yeah, that’s really good thinking to do that. If we can’t get this thing done, I’m with the mayor of New York City, if we can’t get this thing done, I don’t know what kind of country we have,’’ he continued. “This is about us. This isn’t about the President or those other people down there (in Washington D.C.). We have to make them understand somehow that this needs to get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now.’’

He’s calling for swift action on gun control. If anything, I can dig that. Though I’d like to hear the context of his line about teachers getting guns (I’d assume, knowing Boeheim, it was total sarcasm), but something has to be done. Anything. At least get the ball rolling. I think we can all agree on that. Swift action. One way or the other.

Boeheim, in his opinion, seems to want less guns on the streets.

Well, on a night that was all about him at Syracuse, the most powerful man in central New York made a powerful statement. And it had nothing to do with basketball.

David Harten is a sportswriter and college basketball blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.