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Syracuse bolsters backcourt with South Florida graduate transfer Geno Thorpe

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Syracuse will once again rely heavily on a graduate transfer in its backcourt next season as the Orange landed a commitment from South Florida guard Geno Thorpe on Friday.

The 6-foot-4 Thorpe led the Bulls in points and assists last season as he put up 15.1 points and 4.6 assists per outing. Thorpe should log major minutes for Syracuse next season as he’ll help replace the loss of John Gillon and Andrew White, two more graduate transfers who both made an impact last season.

Thorpe should play a bit of both guard spots alongside returners like Tyus Battle and Frank Howard while freshman point guard Howard Washington will also join the program. With an ability to stretch the floor, Thorpe also gives the Orange another perimeter shooter, something the team desperately needed this offseason.

 

Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim: ‘I’ve gotta coach for five or six more years’

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Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has had an interesting offseason.

The 72-year-old is now in position to be the Orange’s head coach for longer than anticipated after previous coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins went back West to take the Washington job in late March.

Boeheim made some remarks about his coaching future at the annual ‘Cuse Awards that were held earlier this week as he even referred to potentially being around for more than half a century.

It’s hard to know if Boeheim’s comments were serious or if he was trying to have some fun with his school’s athletics community during and end-of-season awards gala but here is his intro, according to Nunes Magician.

“I hope everybody’s having a great year,” he said. “I didn’t. Normally when you lose your last game, you’re really upset. Not so much when you’re in the NIT.”

The camera immediately went to John Gillon and Tyus Battle who couldn’t hold back laughter.

 The Hall of Famer continued, “Not only did we lose the last game, but then I find out I’ve gotta coach for five or six more years.”

The “I’ve gotta coach for five or six more years” is especially interesting because Boeheim immediately inked an extension with the Orange following the sudden departure of Hopkins this offseason. While there were unconfirmed reports that the extension was through the 2021-22 season, according to Adam Zagoria, that year would seem to make sense for one major reason.

Boeheim still might coach his son, Buddy, at Syracuse over the next few years.

Buddy Boeheim is a Class of 2018 wing who has Division I potential after a big junior season at local Jacksonville-DeWitt High School. The 6-foot-5 Buddy Boeheim had a very positive first weekend in the Nike EYBL with the Albany City Rocks this April as he averaged 9.7 points per game and shot 50 percent from three-point range.

Since Boeheim might be able to coach his son with the Orange, it does open up the unique possibility that he does decide to coach for another five or six seasons. While Buddy Boeheim isn’t any kind of elite talent, he does have the potential to be a rotation player at Syracuse if he continues to improve — most programs could certainly use a 6-foot-5 floor spacer.

Buddy is currently deciding whether to return to Jamesville-DeWitt for his senior season, or test himself more by going to a prep school for next season, according to Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com. Keep an eye on Buddy’s decision here, because a prep school for him during his senior year could be a move that is designed to help him adjust to Syracuse and the ACC.

Either way, Boeheim has an interesting dilemma regarding his future and it doesn’t appear that he’s stepping down anytime soon.

Greensboro minor league baseball team hosting ‘Jim Boeheim (No) Value Night’ on Tuesday

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The Greensboro Grasshoppers are hosting “Jim Boeheim (No) Value Night” on Tuesday night when they play a 7 p.m. game against the Delmarva Shorebirds.

After Boeheim made anti-Greensboro remarks during the ACC tournament this season, the city defended itself as the Miami Marlins Class A affiliate is having its own night to take a shot at the Hall of Fame coach.

All fans attending Tuesday night with a valid Syracuse, New York driver’s license will get a free ticket, $20 in food and beverage vouchers and a pre-game meet and greet with a bat dog named Miss Babe Ruth.

“Contrary to what Jim Boeheim thinks, Greensboro is a great place and we want to show off our city, our ballpark and our southern hospitality to our friends from Syracuse. We know that not all of them are whiners and grouches like their basketball coach,” Greensboro Grasshoppers Team President and General Manager Donald Moore said in a March release.

The South Atlantic League team also made sure to get some social media going for the promotion, but it doesn’t appear to have gained a lot of steam. I’m kind of doubting that anyone from Syracuse comes to this game to take advantage but it’ll be interesting to see what else the Grasshoppers try to do throw shade at Boeheim.

Washington hires Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins

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Washington is hiring long-time Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins to be the program’s new head coach, per a release from the school.

Hopkins has been with the Syracuse program for the last 20 years as an assistant coach after playing four years for the Orange from 1989-1993.

This move for Hopkins comes as a bit of a surprise since many expected that would be the coach to replace legendary Orange head coach Jim Boeheim when he retires.

Hopkins was even formally named the Syracuse coach-in-waiting in 2015 as he was expected to take over the Orange in 2018 after Boeheim retired.

“The University of Washington is such a unique place, with a world-class University, an exciting basketball history and unbelievable fan support,” Hopkins said in the release. “Together, I believe we can build something very special in Seattle, and I can’t wait to get started.”

“I can’t express enough thanks to Coach Boeheim for so many years of mentorship and guidance. The timing is right for me and my family to make this move.”

A native of Southern California, Hopkins was rumored for the USC head job a couple of years ago that went to Andy Enfield as he has flirted with Pac-12 head coaching jobs before.

As a West Coast native who has recruited at a national level while at Syracuse, Hopkins is an intriguing hire for the Huskies as he’ll be tasked with trying to keep Seattle kids home while also being in the mix for top national talent.

The situation at Syracuse has also taken an interesting turn since Hopkins no longer wants to replace Boeheim in 2018. It’s hard to say where the Orange will turn to now that Hopkins has set his own career path, but that future Syracuse job now becomes one of the subplots to keep an eye on over the next few months.

Hopkins replaces Lorenzo Romar at Washington after Romar was let go by the school this offseason.

 

No. 8 Louisville takes down Syracuse in overtime

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Louisville was able to hold off Syracuse in overtime as the No. 8 Cardinals held on for a 76-72 ACC road win over the Orange on Monday night. With a chance to tie with two free throws with 2.7 seconds left, Syracuse senior missed both of them.

After blowing a late lead in regulation the Cardinals were able to rally in overtime and hold on once again during a late Syracuse charge as the Orange lost their second straight game.

Donovan Mitchell led Louisville with 16 points while Quentin Snider had 14 points as five Cardinals finished in double figures.

The win keeps Louisville tied for second in the ACC with a crowded field at the top. With the NCAA tournament men’s basketball selection committee naming Louisville as a No. 2 seed — and No. 7 overall — this was a solid road win over a potential tournament team.

Here are two takeaways from this one:

1. Louisville needs to figure out how to close

Louisville will certainly take a conference road win against a team like Syracuse but this game also offered a disturbing trend in which the Cardinals nearly blew late leads in both regulation and overtime.

Now that Snider has returned from injury, the Cardinals have plenty of backcourt options to help close out games but Louisville continually missed free throws and had some poor offensive possessions while holding the lead late.

When Snider was out with injury, Louisville really seemed to get in an offensive groove as they were putting up a lot of points while getting some blowout wins. Things have slowed down with Snider back in the lineup and I still think he and Mitchell are figuring out the best way to share the ball and co-exist in the Louisville backcourt.

Syracuse also wanted to keep the tempo a bit slower than Louisville usually likes to play with its zone but the Cardinals offense spent time sputtering at the end of both halves.

Deng Adel will have better games than his off-night on Monday but the Cardinals need to figure a few things out on offense during this final regular season stretch.

2. Syracuse missed another chance at a signature win

With the Orange currently fighting hard for one of the last at-large bids in the NCAA tournament, this is the kind of loss that could come back to bite Syracuse. While Louisville certainly deserves credit for the win, the Orange’s offense was very stagnant for a good portion of the second half.

Now with two consecutive losses, Syracuse needs to finish at least .500 to feel comfortable heading into the ACC tournament. The Orange get two games with Georgia Tech — and winning in Atlanta has not been easy this season — as well as a home game against Duke and a road return to Louisville.

We’ve seen that the Orange can go toe-to-toe with the Cardinals but it feels like Syracuse might need to beat either Duke or Louisville to feel comfortable.

Syracuse also deserves credit for two late comebacks when they could have quit fighting. Most of the team struggled offensively. Senior Andrew White was only 2-for-14 from three-point range but he still figured out ways to score late as he totaled 22 points.

Beachem’s career day leads No. 15 Irish over Syracuse

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) When V.J. Beachem gets to the rim, opportunities open up for him and No. 15 Notre Dame.

Midway through the first half Saturday against Syracuse, Beachem streaked along the baseline and threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk. Next trip down the court, there was Beachem again with another flush off a nifty behind-the-back pass from Matt Farrell.

Beachem decided to take it outside from there, banging home consecutive 3-pointers in a personal 10-2 run that broke things open for the Irish in an 84-66 victory over the Orange.

Beachem finished with a career-high 30 points for Notre Dame which snapped a four-game losing streak against Syracuse.

“The drive really opens up the outside shot for me,” Beachem said. “When you can get into the middle of the lane and make everybody look and collapse, that’s when the outside really opens up.”

Farrell added 15 points and nine assists for the Irish, who were coming off a three-point loss at No. 10 Florida State that stopped a seven-game winning streak.

“V.J. was fabulous,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “When we can get him flowing like that, it’s a confidence-giver to his teammates.”

On an unseasonably warm January day for Northern Indiana, with temperatures in the 50s, Notre Dame (17-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was hot from outside, hitting 11 3-pointers against the Syracuse zone.

“We were really anxious to play against (the zone),” Beachem said. “The way we play offensively, we felt like we’d be fine against it.”

Beachem tied his career high with six 3s and added seven rebounds. He finished 12 of 22 from the field and his point total was the most by an Irish player since Bonzie Colson had 31 against Duke last season.

“Beachem, we just couldn’t get to him,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “He’s a tremendous shooter and we just didn’t get to him.”

Despite sitting much of the first half with foul trouble, Colson still finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season. Steve Vasturia added 11 points.

Tyler Lydon had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Syracuse (11-9, 3-4). Tyus Battle added 17 points and Andrew White III had 16.

“We can’t win with just three guys against anybody,” Boeheim said. “We have to have more guys. I can’t even describe how disappointed I am in a couple guys on our team.”

After being outrebounded by 20 in a loss to North Carolina on Monday, the Orange were again beaten on the boards, 39-28. Syracuse also struggled from deep, going just 6 of 19 from 3-point range.

“I think our defense was really the key today,” Brey said.

Notre Dame took a 16-point lead early in the second half with a 9-0 run and led by double digits the rest of the way. Rex Pflueger’s 3 with just over 4 minutes left gave the Irish their largest lead of 22 points.

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: The Orange are 0-5 on the road and have yet to beat a ranked team, after being ranked as high as No. 16 earlier in the season.

Notre Dame: The Irish have yet to lose consecutive games this season and figured out a response after dropping their first ACC game on Wednesday.

RING OF HONOR

Former All-America guard David Rivers was inducted into Notre Dame’s ring of honor at halftime. Rivers, who played from 1984-88, scored over 2,000 points in his career and was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988.

Rivers, who comes from a family of 15 children in Jersey City, NJ, nearly died in a car accident in 1986, but came back and averaged 22 points per game in his final season at Notre Dame.

Former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps has called Rivers the best player he’s ever coached.

“When I hear that, it’s humbling,” Rivers said before Saturday’s game. “I take it as one of the greatest compliments I could ever receive, and I just move on, because I’m familiar with some of these names that are up there (in the ring of honor) already. It’s just awesome company.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Following a close loss at No. 10 Florida State on Wednesday, the Irish don’t figure to slide much after keeping pace with the ACC’s top teams.

UP NEXT

Syracuse: The Orange return home for two, starting with Wake Forest on Tuesday before No. 10 Florida State visits on Saturday.

Notre Dame: The Irish host three of their next four, beginning with No. 16 Virginia on Tuesday.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.