Tag: Mike Hopkins

Syracuse Hopkins
Associated Press

Syracuse assistant recovering from surfing injury

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The Syracuse basketball program is dealing with its first injury of the 2015-16 academic year, and it’s head coach Jim Boeheim’s eventual replacement who’s currently at less than full strength.

Assistant and head coach in-waiting Mike Hopkins suffered a neck injury while body surfing in California, as first reported by Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard. Hopkins, who played collegiately at Syracuse and has been a member of Boeheim’s staff since 1995, was on vacation visiting family when the injury occurred.

The good news in all of this is that while Hopkins is wearing a neck brace, the injury was not deemed to be severe in nature.

While Hopkins must wear the brace, the neck injury is not severe. Hopkins has been overseeing workouts with Syracuse players at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. He has also been on the road recruiting this past week, including a trip to New Jersey.

Hopkins, who was officially named Boeheim’s successor in late June, will take over as head coach in 2018.

Syracuse makes it official that Mike Hopkins will take over in 2018

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For quite some time the general assumption was that whenever current Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim decided to call it a career, Mike Hopkins would be the man to take over the program. Having played for Boeheim in the early 1990’s, Hopkins has been a member of the Syracuse coaching staff since 1995.

Thursday the school announced that Hopkins has now been given the title of head coach designate, meaning that he will take over as head coach when Boeheim retires in 2018. Syracuse has made 14 NCAA tournament appearances during Hopkins’ time on staff, and he’s been an important asset to the program in regards to both recruiting and player development.

“I’m honored, humbled and grateful for this special opportunity,” Hopkins said in the release. “Very few people are afforded the privilege to coach at their alma mater. I want to thank Chancellor Syverud, the Board of Trustees and Jim Boeheim for entrusting me with this great program.

“Coach Boeheim has created one of the most preeminent college basketball programs in the country, one that is committed to a standard of excellence and consistency.”

Making this news official is a positive step for Syracuse, as opposing programs cannot attempt to use Boeheim’s eventual retirement against the Orange in recruiting. Prospective players now know for sure who will take over when the Hall of Fame coach retires, and the fact that it’s a person who’s been a part of the program as either a player or coach for the last two-plus decades (outside of the two years he played professionally) helps with continuity.

Hopkins is one of three Syracuse alums on Boeheim’s coaching staff, with former guards Adrian Autry and Gerry McNamara being the others. The Orange, who missed out of postseason play as a result of a self-imposed postseason ban for NCAA rules violations, return three starters from last season’s 18-win team.

Reductions in scholarship, off-campus recruiting will have significant impact on Syracuse moving forward

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Friday afternoon the NCAA revealed its findings in an investigation of the Syracuse athletic department, with both the men’s basketball and football programs being punished. Jim Boeheim’s program took the most significant hit. In addition to being placed on probation for five seasons they’re also losing 12 scholarships over a four-year period amongst other penalties.

The recruiting angle is what could be most damaging for Syracuse, as they’ll also have to navigate restrictions with regards to who will be allowed to recruit off campus. The school recommended in its findings that one off-campus recruiter be eliminated for a six-month period during the 2015-16 season; the NCAA ultimately ruled that two coaches will be banned from leaving campus to recruit for the next two years beginning June 1.

However this ruling may not have as big of an impact as it would appear to at first glance. Why? Because in addition to serving as an assistant to Duke Mike Krzyzewski on the USA Basketball coaching staff, Boeheim has also served as chairman of the US Junior National Team Committee since 2005. That means he observes many of the nation’s top prep talent at youth national team tryouts and can interact with them as well.

Will that change due to the NCAA ruling? That’s a question that has yet to be answered, but if Boeheim remains in that role that is one way in which to ensure that elite prospects are still interacting with Syracuse in spite of the recruiting restrictions.

With Rakeem Christmas moving on and four players having signed a National Letter of Intent, Syracuse will be at 13 scholarships next season which is the maximum allowed per NCAA rules. With forwards Moustapha Diagne and Tyler Lydon and guards Frank Howard and Malachi Richardson all signed, the school will not have to begin the process of cutting scholarships until the 2016-17 academic year.

While that avoids a potentially messy situation from occurring this offseason, Syracuse still has some significant moves to make. Here’s a breakdown of their scholarship players, by class, in the 2015-16 season. And you’ll notice that the majority of them will have eligibility remaining beyond next season.

Seniors: Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije
Juniors: DaJuan Coleman (redshirted this season), B.J. Johnson, Chinoso Okoboh, Ron Patterson, Tyler Roberson
Sophomores: Kaleb Joseph, Chris McCullough
Freshmen: Moustapha Diagne, Frank Howard, Tyler Lydon, Malachi Richardson

Syracuse is also still in contention for the services of five-star big man Thomas Bryant, so there could be some shuffling of the roster to come in the offseason should there be a need to make room for him. With Christmas out of eligibility and Coleman having struggled with knee issues for much of his college career, landing Bryant would be an important recruiting win for Syracuse if they can make it happen.

Looking beyond next season, with four-star forward Matthew Moyer having verbally committed to Syracuse in the 2016 class Syracuse (at this time) has 12 scholarships accounted for in the 2016-17 season (Cooney and Gbinije moving on). With the scholarship penalties being what they are, that is the first season in which the Orange would be limited to ten available scholarships.

The combination of a reduction in scholarships and less time to recruit off-campus means that Syracuse will need to be even more selective in recruiting. Casting a wide net would not be feasible given the resulting lack of resources. Another question that could impact the future of the program: how does all of this impact assistant coach (and head coach-in-waiting) Mike Hopkins?

He’s had multiple opportunities to accept head coaching jobs in the past, most notably discussing the USC vacancy in 2013 before ultimately deciding to remain at his alma mater. With Boeheim moving further away from the 1,000-win mark due to the vacating of games, how will Friday’s developments impact when Hopkins takes over? There’s only one person who has the answer to that question, and it’s Jim Boeheim.

The biggest concern at this time is accounting for the scholarship and evaluation sanctions, as they’ll impact the strength of the Syracuse program for years to come.