Syracuse lands four-star Class of 2018 forward Darius Bazley

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Syracuse landed a solid commitment in the Class of 2018 on Monday as four-star forward Darius Bazley pledged to the Orange, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.

The 6-foot-9 Bazley is a long and athletic forward who should fit in well with the Syracuse 2-3 zone. Regarded as the No. 73 overall prospect in the Rivals national recruiting rankings in the Class of 2018, Bazley is versatile and possesses a lot of intriguing skills for the next level. For his size, Bazley is an athletic wing forward who can also handle the ball and pass and he’s shown a good-looking perimeter jumper as well.

The knock on Bazley has been his inconsistent motor. If he continues to play like he did late this spring with Meanstreets then Bazley should be a nice fit for what the Orange are looking to do.

A former Ohio State commit, Bazley is Syracuse’s first commitment in the Class of 2018. Bazley opted to decommit from the Buckeyes this spring, offering some harsh words about the state of the Ohio State program on the way out of the commitment.

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.