Jim Boeheim

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

“It doesn’t happen with Nike,” Boeheim says of FBI investigation

7 Comments

One of the prevailing thoughts regarding this opening salvo of the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball is that while it’s currently adidas’ turn in the barrel, whatever malfeasance may be occurring is unlikely to be just isolated to that single shoe company.

When the FBI says they “have your playbook” in regards to alleged corruption,  it would seem they’re indicating at a systemic issue in college basketball rather than a single apparel company like adidas, which had two executives arrested amid the probe that shaken the hoops landscape.

Jim Boeheim, though, does not share those sentiments.

“It doesn’t happen with Nike,” Boeheim said at Syracuse’s media day, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. “Nike has about 80 schools. The guys we’re recruiting, we’re recruiting against three or four Nike schools most of the time. (Nike) isn’t going to help one of those schools.”

Well, that settles it. Nike and its schools are in the clear. Even if the apparel giant’s grassroots hoops division was reportedly served a subpoena last month. And that Merl Code, one of the adidas executives arrested, worked for Nike previously.

Of course, there may be issues with some of the logic Boeheim employs here. While, as he says, Syracuse may often being going against other Nike schools in recruiting, there are surely times when adidas or Under Armour schools are in the mix. What happens then? Or even if it’s multiple Nike schools competing, the hypothetical money changing hands is illicit, and thereby under the table and unofficial, so it’s not like there wouldn’t be plausible deniability if a coach on the losing end of a recruitment  ever went to express his displeasure at any particular rumors. And how hard – or publicly – is a coach going to complain when his school is securing millions from Nike in cash and gear each year?

It’s also worth noting that not all schools are created equal, even if they’re under the same apparel umbrella. Ohio State’s contract is worth $16.8 million a year while someone like Kansas State’s is worth $1.9 million, according to Forbes. Nike may have an interest in helping one school over the other, theoretically.

Maybe Boeheim is correct, but it’s clear the entire system – and all the entities its made up of – are going to be under scrutiny. So the FBI probably isn’t going to exempt Nike, or any other apparel company, from its ongoing investigation, regardless of what a coach at a Nike school says. It’s also worth noting, in deference to full disclosure, that Nike has long outfitted Syracuse, and Boeheim has been very active as a part of Team USA basketball, where Nike is quite influential

“First of all, I think the FBI could do a lot better investigating criminals and terrorists than they can investigating college basketball,” Boeheim said. “In my opinion. I’m a tax-payer. There’s a few tax-payers here. I’d sure as hell rather have them looking into terrorism and not spending three years investigating AAU programs or shoe companies. That’s the least of our concern.”

 

Jim Boeheim calls Tom Crean ‘an idiot’ for draft night commentary

5 Comments

During last Thursday’s NBA Draft, Syracuse sophomore forward Tyler Lydon was taken No. 24 overall by the Utah Jazz; his draft rights were later traded to the Denver Nuggets.

On The Vertical’s livestream coverage of the draft, former Indiana head coach Tom Crean was not overly impressed with the 6-foot-8 shooter. Lydon connected on 40 percent from three in both seasons with the Orange and demonstrated to be a solid rim protector, although, that could be attributed to playing in a 2-3 zone. Denver acquired Lydon under the belief that he could be a modern-day stretch four.

Crean not only questioned Lydon’s defense, he also was critical of his shooting. He ended his analysis by asking, “And who [is he] going to separate from?” While he did question his shooting itself — again a 40-percent career 3-point shooter — he did seem to have concerns with other areas of his offensive game, such as being asked to create for himself, which is fair to question.

That analysis didn’t sit well with Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, who lambasted Crean’s comments.

“He’s an idiot,” Boeheim told reporters on Thursday, according to Chris Carlson of Syracuse.com. “He said he’s not a good shooter. Freshman, sophomore year he shoots 40 percent from 3. That’s pretty good for a young player. I think he had the best shooting statistics at the combine, I think, of all the big guys. He shoots it. That’s what he does. It just shows the ignorance and not doing the work, the research, the background check. He’s athletic and can do a lot of other things but he can really shoot.”

Despite being relieved of his head coaching duties in March, Crean had two former players have their names called on Thursday night in Brooklyn. The Toronto Raptors selected to OG Anunoby one spot ahead of Lydon. Thomas Bryant was drafted No. 42 overall by the Jazz but was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Syracuse guard Richardson enters NBA Draft, won’t hire agent

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Leave a comment

With guards Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney out of eligibility, freshman Malachi Richardson stands to see even more scoring opportunities as a sophomore in 2016-17. Before reaching that point however, the New Jersey native has decided to enter the 2016 NBA Draft but will not hire an agent in order to preserve his college eligibility.

Richardson was a mainstay in the starting lineup for Jim Boeheim’s team, averaging 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game on a team that reached the Final Four. It was his second half offensive showing that sparked the Orange’s comeback win over No. 1 Virginia in the Elite Eight, as he hit six three-pointers and scored 23 points on the day.

In addition to Gbinije and Cooney Syracuse has also lost seldom-used point guard Kaleb Joseph, who transferred to Creighton, from its’ backcourt. That leaves Richardson and fellow rising sophomore Franklin Howard as guards who saw playing time this season should the former return to campus. The Orange also add a talented guard in the form of freshman Tyus Battle this summer.

Richardson is one of two Syracuse underclassmen who have important decision to make in regards to the NBA Draft, with 6-foot-8 forward Tyler Lydon being the other.

Final Four Previews: Ranking the head coaches

Leave a comment

With the Final Four just two days away we’ll be taking a look at different aspects of the match-ups, one of which being a ranking for the four head coaches. With two Hall of Famers who have won national titles in one game, and two coaches who have never reached the title game in the other, that makes for interesting subplots in Saturday’s games. Without further ado, here’s the ranking of the four Final Four head coaches.

1. Roy Williams, North Carolina
Overall Record: 782-208
NCAA tournament record: 66-23; seven Final Four appearances, two national titles (2005, 2009)

Williams is one of two members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who will coach in this weekend’s Final Four, with the other being his semifinal opponent in Jim Boeheim. Williams has led two of the sport’s most storied programs and enjoyed a great deal of success at both, winning 80.5 percent of his games and making three Final Four appearances at Kansas before returning to his alma mater in 2003.

At North Carolina, Williams’ teams have won 77.3 percent of their games, and he led the Tar Heels to national titles in 2005 and 2009. Williams has now led North Carolina to four Final Four appearances, with this year’s trip being the first for the program since 2009. In both 2005 and 2009 the Tar Heels were the favorites at the Final Four, and that will be the case this weekend as well. Can this group win it all? That remains to be seen.

2. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Overall record: 989-346 (not accounting for games vacated by the NCAA)
NCAA tournament record: 53-30; five Final Four appearances, one national title (2003)

Boeheim and Williams, his opponent in the semifinals, have met in a Final Four before. That came back in 2003, when a Hakim Warrick blocked shot preserved the win for Syracuse over Kansas and gave the Orange their first (and only) national title. Boeheim’s led his alma mater to five Final Four appearances, and he’s reached the title game in three of the previous four trips.

Syracuse dropped a heartbreaker to Indiana in the 1987 title game, and nine years later they fell to a Kentucky team that would reach the title game in three straight years (winning in 1996 and 1998). Of the four prior teams Boeheim’s led to the Final Four none had been seeded lower than a four, so this group is a definite outlier given their status as a No. 10 seed.

3. Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
Overall record: 590-360
NCAA tournament record: 20-16; two Final Four appearances

It’s been 22 years since Kruger last led a team to the Final Four, doing so at Florida with a team that included Andrew DeClerq and Dametri Hill. Kruger’s the lone head coach to lead five different teams to the NCAA tournament, with Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV being the other four. After losing in the round of 64 in each of his first two appearances at Oklahoma, Kruger’s Sooners reached the Sweet 16 last season where the lost to Michigan State.

In addition to taking the five aforementioned schools to the NCAA tournament, Kruger’s managed to take each one to at least the Sweet 16. With guards Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard leading the way, Kruger will look to make his first-ever appearance in the national title game.

4. Jay Wright, Villanova
Overall record: 474-242
NCAA tournament record: 18-12; two Final Four appearances

After missing the NCAA tournament in each of his first three seasons at the helm at Villanova, Wright’s led the Wildcats to the Big Dance in 11 of the last 12 seasons. Add in two NCAA tournament appearances while the head coach at Hofstra (2000 and 2001), and Wright has a total of 13 trips to the tournament to his credit. From 2005-2009 Villanova reached at least the second weekend of the NCAA tournament in four of the five seasons, which included a trip to the Final Four in 2009.

After that run Villanova hit a bit of a cold stretch, not getting out of the first weekend in any of their five appearances from 2010 to 2015 and missing the tournament completely in 2012. Wright and the Wildcats got over the hump this year, and Las Vegas odds have them second in line behind North Carolina when it comes to their chances of winning the national title.

Syracuse pays homage to legend with special warmup shirt

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Back in September it was revealed that former Syracuse guard Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, who was not only one of the program’s greatest players but also a key figure in the growth of the Big East during its infancy, was undergoing treatment for a malignant brain tumor. The full process has been understandably difficult for Washington and his family, not only physically and emotionally but financially as well.

With that in mind a GoFundMe campaign was started by Washington’s longtime friend Brandon Steiner to help the family with the rising medical costs, which included Washington needing a nurse’s aide for 24-hour supervision according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. The campaign has raised nearly $39,000 to this point, with a goal of $93,000 being set.

Before the team’s basketball game against Notre Dame Thursday night players took to the Carrier Dome court for warmups in special T-shirts honoring Washington, with his nickname in the same cursive print used on Syracuse’s uniforms during Pearl’s time at the school.

Former Big East foes set to renew acquaintances?

Leave a comment

In the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, Syracuse and Connecticut met for the first time since the programs left the Big East in 2013. Of course the game, which the Orange won, made many nostalgic for the days when that game would be a conference matchup with far higher stakes. And apparently, fans may not have to wait too long for the next meeting between the two programs.

Obviously UConn head coach Kevin Ollie used the word “hopefully” when discussing the possibility of there being a UConn/Syracuse matchup on next season’s schedule, so nothing’s set in stone. But hopefully the two sides can some to an agreement…maybe a home and home with a neutral site meeting at Madison Square Garden?

That wouldn’t be a bad deal at all, especially when considering the number of important meetings in the series. Both programs have made efforts to get former conference foes on their respective non-conference schedules, with Syracuse having already played Georgetown, St. John’s and Villanova since their move to the ACC.

UConn will play the first game in its home and home series with Georgetown this weekend, and adding another former Big East to the mix would help their non-conference résumé in future years given the strength of the American Athletic Conference compared to its last conference home.