Jim Boeheim is known for his arrogance and tough-guy attitude, but we saw a much different side of the longtime Syracuse coach on Wednesday when he was discussing the passing of one of his former players.
Dwayne “Pearl” Washington died this week after being diagnosed with a brain tumor last year. He was 52. Boeheim fought back tears as he was telling reporters what Washington meant to the program.
I've *never* seen this type of emotion from Jim Boeheim. This is startling pic.twitter.com/pcACvFGqji
— nick wright (@getnickwright) April 21, 2016
“He was a really humble guy. He helped make our program,” Boeheim said. “He helped make the Big East and he helped make college basketball.”
That’s a much different Boeheim the guy we are used to seeing snap at reporters.
Washington was the nation’s top recruit in 1983, and he ended up picking Syracuse. In the book “Color Him Orange: The Jim Boeheim Story,” Boeheim credited Washington for putting Syracuse on the map.
“I can’t underscore how big a moment that was for our program,” he said. “I believe at that point we officially went from being an Eastern program to a national program. Everybody knew who the Pearl was. I’d get off of a plane in L.A. and somebody would say, ‘There’s Pearl’s coach.’ He was the guy who opened the door for us and enabled us to land recruits not just from the East Coast or the Midwest but from the entire country.”
Boeheim also sent some tweets about Washington on Wednesday:
There was no better guy and there’s nobody who has meant more to our basketball program than Dwayne Washington.#CuseFamily
— Jim Boeheim (@therealboeheim) April 20, 2016
You will forever be in our hearts. We love you.
— Jim Boeheim (@therealboeheim) April 20, 2016
This year’s Sweet 16 is jam-packed with fascinating intersectional match-ups. Coaching legends, prestigious programs and elite players litter the landscape. Here are 16 interesting numbers to keep in mind as you watch the eight regional semifinal contests this week.
The Sweet 16 has been the kiss of death for Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. The 2006 College Basketball Hall of Fame inductee has bowed out in this round 11 times, while only advancing on five occasions.
Four players remaining in the field have experience playing in the national championship game for their current school. Duke’s Matt Jones, Grayson Allen, Marshall Plumlee and the injured Amile Jefferson all logged minutes for the Blue Devils against Wisconsin in last season’s championship game. But did you know that Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer played against Kansas in the 2012 final as a member of the Kentucky Wildcats? What’s even more astonishing is that five of Wiltjer’s UK teammates from that game have already logged two or more years in the NBA.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Greg Gard is scheduled to make $275,000 this year as the Badgers’ head coach. According to the Sporting News, Coach K makes 21.98-times that. Regardless of salary, both coaches find themselves as one possession underdogs in the Sweet 16.
Indiana and North Carolina have reached the Sweet 16 a combined 54 times. To give that some perspective, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, who also play in this round, combine for just 14 appearances.
Buddy Hield’s explosive second half against VCU not only saved the Sooners but also put the presumptive National Player of the Year on pace to break Glen Rice’s 27-year-old NCAA Tournament scoring record. Hield is already more than a third of the way to Rice’s total of 184 points scored during Michigan’s title run back in 1989.
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Jim Boeheim had been campaigning hard for his Syracuse team in the leadup to Selection Sunday, and he had the last laugh after they defeated Dayton on Friday.
Boeheim blasted his team’s critics, saying that those who felt his team didn’t deserve their bid know nothing about basketball.
“Nobody that said we didn’t deserve to be in obviously doesn’t know anything about basketball,” Boeheim said, via Eye on College Basketball’s Chip Patterson. “So we didn’t think about it. They were just doing it to be cute and that’s — we don’t need to react to those things. And these guys don’t listen to that stuff.
“We think we can play with anybody,” Boeheim continued. “We don’t look at it as we’re an underdog or whatever. We just think if we can play and play the way we are capable, that we can beat anybody. And I think that’s college basketball. I think that’s the way you should think.”
Boeheim was suspended for part of the season and Syracuse struggled without him, which was a big part of his sales pitch. They beat Dayton convincingly, so maybe Boeheim was onto something – and now, with Michigan State’s shock loss, they have a nice little path towards a surprise Sweet Sixteen spot.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim lost his suspension appeal on Thursday, and his nine game ban was upheld by the NCAA.
It was slightly modified, however. Originally banned for the team’s first nine ACC games, the penalty was amended, and Boeheim may begin his suspension immediately and not miss the bulk of the conference schedule.
According to ESPN’s Dana O’Neil, the terms of the suspension dictate that Boeheim can have no contact with his team. He can’t even set foot in his office until the ban is lifted.
The suspension stems from the multiple violations committed by Syracuse athletics between 2001 and 2009, which included academic misconduct and impermissible booster activity, as well as not following the NCAA drug policy. The school has already had twelve scholarships revoked over the scandal, and the basketball program was stripped of 108 wins over a period of five seasons.
The amendment of the suspension means that Boeheim will only miss three ACC games as opposed to the original nine. It will cost him the game against rival Georgetown, but most of the remainder of Syracuse’s non-conference slate is rather straightforward.
The principal of Albertus Magnus High School in New York has sent a formal letter of apology to Jamie Boeheim, the daughter of Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, after she was taunted by students during a recent basketball game.
Jamie, a freshman, plays for the Jamesville-DeWitt High School varsity team. She was met with chants of, “Where’s the cheater?” when she entered Friday’s New York Class A state semifinal game in the fourth quarter over the weekend.
“Our students violated our Mission Statement which includes ‘showing respect for the dignity of each person,'” Albertus Magnus principal Joseph T. Troy wrote. “We plan to meet with the student body to discuss appropriate behavior during sporting events.”
Troy has been the principal at Albertus Magnus for 20 years.
But none of that has anything to do with Jamie, whose team went on to rout Albertus Magnus by a final score of 56-33.
“I just try and block out everything,” the younger Boeheim told Syracuse.com after the win. “I’m a Boeheim so I’m expecting some, but I just ignore it.”
Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim addressed the media on Thursday, and his main message was that he believes the sanctions that have been imposed against him and the university are “unduly harsh.”
Boeheim began his statement by admitting that even “one violation is one too many,” but he started throwing haymakers shortly thereafter. The 70-year-old coach made it clear that he believes the program is being punished for the actions of individuals who are no longer associated with Syracuse.
Boeheim, who is appealing the NCAA’s ruling, also claimed he would have retired from coaching by now if not for the investigation.
“When this started, obviously, there was a two- or three-year time frame,” he told reporters. “There would have been no way that I would ever run away from an investigation in progress. There was no way that I was going to ever leave this university after 53 years. Other than my family, this is the focus of my life. … I had no plans to coach this long. This investigation has made it imperative.”
While Syracuse announced on Wednesday that Boeheim plans to coach three more years, he said that is not set in stone.
Syracuse has officially begun the process of cleaning up its image in the wake of serious NCAA sanctions that were handed down against the men’s basketball program less than two weeks ago. For starters, athletic director Daryl Gross is leaving his current post.
Dave Tobin of Syracuse.com reports that Gross will remain with the school in a different position, and it is unclear if he was fired as athletic director or stepped down.
Shortly after word of Gross’ demotion surfaced, Syracuse announced that head coach Jim Boeheim will coach the Orange for three more years before retiring. He has apparently reached an agreement with Syracuse officials on what is the first time an actual date has been placed on the 70-year-old Boeheim calling it a career.
A lot of this is damage control at its finest. Syracuse was recently penalized by the NCAA after it was discovered that basketball program employees allegedly posed as athletes and corresponded with professors via email. Some even submitted coursework that was needed to keep the players eligible.
You can read a summary of the sanctions against Syracuse here.
Among the penalties for the men’s basketball team was the vacating of 108 wins, which means Boeheim now has 858 in his career. The Hall of Fame coach had notched his 900th victory over two years ago. He was second on the NCAA’s all-time win list before the penalties were announced and is now sixth.
While the NCAA determined that Boeheim did not “promote an atmosphere of compliance,” Gross stepping down will deflect some of the attention from the head coach. Boeheim also likely announced that he will coach three more seasons to make it clear he is not hiding from the penalties or being forced from the program.