Boeheim On His Controversial Comments About Other ACC Schools: Never Mind, So Sorry.

Feb 6, 2023 - 5:50 PM
NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Syracuse
 Dec 31, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim reacts to a call against the Boston College Eagles during the second half at the JMA Wireless Dome.  | Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The fallout from Jim Larranaga’s NIL-based slam on Pitt, Wake Forest and Miami continues.

On Monday, Boeheim issued an apology via Twitter.

Pitt’s Jeff Capel responded by saying “I have no comment. I have no reaction to it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of what they think. So I have no comment on anyone else’s opinion.”

Wake’s coach Dilbert Steve Forbes said Sunday that Boeheim was “1000 percent wrong.” We haven’t yet seen a comment by Miami’s Jim Larranaga. In further comments, Boeheim pointedly excluded Miami from his general apology, which makes you wonder if he’s actually disagreeing with his own clarification. And that in turn makes you wonder who wrote it.

The broader reaction has been interesting. One Syracuse alum wrote a letter to the editor of the Syracuse newspaper and said that “Syracuse University created Jim Boeheim, molded him, used him to win an NCAA championship and now, after essentially 60 years, is powerless to rein in his worst impulses. In the last year alone, Boeheim has falsely accused two ACC institutions of cheating, picked a petty fight with the head coach of Bryant University, bullied at least two student reporters during post-game press conferences, and covered — poorly — for his son Buddy by characterizing a clearly intentional punch during the ACC Tournament as “‘unintentional.’”

Pat Forde has a column about the dangers of keeping the job “within the family” which makes a point that we totally agree with: it doesn’t always work. At Duke this has a chance to work very well, fortunately. We think Jon Scheyer is gifted and will do well. But if he doesn’t, Duke shouldn’t feel compelled to just go to the next family guy. Culture is important but at a certain point the talent runs out.

Take UNC.

After El Deano retired, the Heels promoted Bill Guthridge. A career assistant and a nice man, Gut won for three years, but the rot set in. Matt Doherty finished wrecking the entire program in a few short years and UNC was very lucky that Ol’ Roy Williams was ready to leave Kansas and come home.

Now Hubert Davis is in charge and while he had a great run to finish last season, this year hasn’t been great for the Heels. After his clutch drive late against Carolina Saturday, Jeremy Roach said he knew he’d be able to get to the basket because UNC’s defenders weren’t talking, and that’s on Hubert.

It’s still too early to know how Davis is going to do. He has recruited well and he has a different approach than Williams had. He needs some time to show where his level is.

But if he falls short, where do you go? Wes Miller? Maybe. But who else?

The coaching tree can only take you so far. Ask yourself this. In a perfect world, if Davis fails, would you rather have Wes Miller or Brad Stevens? Wes Miller or, before we knew too much about his personal life, Chris Beard?

Look at the mess Georgetown is in because they hired Patrick Ewing to keep it in the family. Would they like Stevens? What about a young, scandal-free Rick Pitino?

It’s a solid point.

His column starts about letting coaches have too much power and arguably Boeheim has too much. Boeheim says there is a plan in place if he decides to retire after the season, which presumably means a current assistant.

You can’t tell, but whoever gets promoted could be great or could pull a Doherty.

Imagine if Syracuse were more daring and hired, say, Darian DeVries from Drake, or Mark Madsen from Utah Valley or Drew Valentine from Loyola of Chicago.

All three are doing outstanding jobs and will move up soon. But apparently not at Syracuse, where the 78-year-old Boeheim not only has determined his successor but also says it’s his decision when he retires.

This leads to a logical question: if coaches can decide when they’re leaving, much less a coach who is 78 and clearly not doing as well as he once was, why in the world does Syracuse need an AD?

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