Jim Boeheim

Jim Boeheim gets win no. 900



Jim Boeheim has done it, 900 wins all at the same school. The Syracuse coach reached that plateau in a 72-68 victory over Detroit.

“I’ve won 900 games because of the coaches and players,” Boeheim told ESPN’s Doris Burke postgame. He also gave credit to Dave Bing, a player he played with with the Orange. Where he started out as a walk-on in 1962.

James Southerland finished with a game-high 22 points for the Orange.

You really have to think of Boeheim among the greats now, if you didn’t already, which would’ve been insane. To reach 900 wins in a coaching career with one team in any sport — maybe sans baseball, due to to 162 game seasons — is incredibly impressive, but to do it at one place is possibly one  of the greatest achievements in college sports when you factor in how times have changed. Boeheim might be one of the last coaches that gets to build a dynasty from the beginning to it’s apex. Until he wants to leave, instead of when he’s asked to leave, which has become the status quo among long-time coaches.

As a player, assistant and head coach, Boeheim has spent the last 50 years of his life within the Syracuse men’s basketball program. His entire adult life. Incredible, really. He’s also been able to do it mostly free of the NCAA’s wrath, in terms of major violations. He’s captured a national title. He’s sent numerous kids on to the NBA and to the coaching ranks. He’s graduated players.

You obviously can’t omit the Bernie Fine allegations. But since that has yet to be founded either way and, to this point, there’s no evidence to prove he knew anything, if anything occurred, he’s still a great person. He’s had his spats with the media, fans and administrators. But all coaches, if they’ve been around long enough, do.

In a time when coaches loyalties are normally to themselves, whether you love him or hate him, Boeheim has shown his loyalty to a college town in central New York and built it into a brand. People know Syracuse. It’s grown into the unofficial college of New York state. That, for the most part, is because of Jim Boeheim and the legendary program he helped build over the past 50 years.

Here’s to Boeheim and 900 wins. Whether the 68-year-old is able to catch Mike Krzyzewski for the all-time record — he’s 27 wins behind, which is a good season’s worth — is irrelevant.

He’s already established himself among the legends. Tonight just furthers it.

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

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?