Syracuse Basketball: Top 3 family ties during the Jim Boeheim era

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /

Leading up to the early part of the 2021-22 Syracuse basketball campaign, it’s a good time for a 10-part series highlighting the best of the Boeheim era (1976-present).

I’ll give my takes, ranking the “Top 3” in many categories, from best free throw shooters to most exciting on a fast break. From top games in the Dome, to top games in the NCAA tourney and everything else in between.

I was 7-years-old in 1976 when Jim Boeheim, who is second all-time in career victories within Division I men’s basketball, became the head coach of the Orange. If I haven’t watched (or listened on the radio) intently to every single Syracuse basketball game since then, then it’s close to 98%.

Statistical facts in each Top 3 are fueled by the awesome web site.

Part 1: Top 3 Triple Doubles.
Part 2: Top 3 Free Throw Shooters.
Part 3: Top 3 Most Exciting on Fast Break.
Part 4: Top 3 Games at the Carrier Dome.
Part 5: Top 3 Shot Blockers.
Part 6: Top 3 Scorers.
Part 7: Top 3 Dunkers.
Part 8: Top 3 NCAA tournament games.

Today, it’s Part 9: Top 3 Family Ties in the Boeheim era:

The 2021-22 season will be a family affair. The fact head coach Jim Boeheim is beginning the season with both of his sons, Jimmy and Buddy, in the starting line-up is surreal.

Not quite to this year’s remarkable degree, but the Orange program under Boeheim has always fostered a family atmosphere, with many former players constantly returning to Syracuse as a brotherhood, sharing a palpable bond. The assistant coaches are currently all former Syracuse basketball players, who understand the culture Coach Boeheim believes allows for the best chemistry on and off the court.

Sometimes, the family atmosphere is actually literal. Here are the best combos of related players to suit up for Jim Boeheim:

1. Howard Triche, Brandon Triche and Jason Hart.

Howard Triche is Brandon Triche’s uncle, and Jason Hart is Brandon’s cousin. Together, they combined to make 348 starts for Syracuse basketball. They also won a lot of games.

Howard, who graduated from Corcoran High School in Syracuse, played for Boeheim from 1983-87. He started his junior and senior years, and in 1987 was a main piece in the coach’s first run to the Final Four. A well-rounded player, he averaged 11.8 ppg, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists for that 1987 team that advanced all the way to the championship game. He was aggressive, great on defense, shot 50% from the field and 72% from the line.

Howard Triche had 12 points and 11 rebounds in the 1987 Final Four semifinal game vs. Providence, that Syracuse won 77-63. Here is that game in full:

Brandon, who went to Jamesville Dewitt High School near Syracuse, started at guard all 147 games of his career from 2009-2013. Brandon played in, started and was part of more victories for Syracuse than any other player. He played either guard position, averaged 10.6 points, 3 assists and 2.6 rebounds during his four years, and was part of some deep NCAA runs including the Final Four in his senior season.

Here are highlights from a huge game in 2013, when Brandon led Syracuse basketball to a win at No. 1 Louisville, with 23 points, including 17 in the first half:

Hart, who came all the way from California to play for Boeheim, was a four-year starter at point guard from 1996-2000. Perhaps the best defensive guard in the program’s history, he is still the all-time leader in steals for Syracuse with 329 (55 more than second place). Hart is also second all-time in assists for the Orange behind only the great Sherman Douglas. He lead two different Orangemen teams to the Sweet Sixteen and played several years in the NBA for 9 different teams.

Here is a recent interview by Mike Waters of with Jason Hart:

2. Leo Rautins and Andy Rautins.

Leo is Andy’s father. Together they are the most potent father-son duo to ever play for Boeheim. It’s of course rare any father and son would end up playing for the same head coach in a college basketball program, made possible by Boeheim’s loyalty and longevity.

This year’s team has another father-son example, with former Orangemen All-American Billy Owens’ son Chaz playing a supporting role in his sophomore season. Recently, star guard Adrian Autry from the 1990s, coached his son Adrian Jr. on the team as a walk-on.

Leo Rautins, one of the greatest players to ever come out of Canada, transferred from Minnesota to Syracuse basketball and starred for the Orangemen from 1980-83. He opened the Carrier Dome and was an original “point forward” with great passing and shooting skills for a 6-foot-8 player. Leo averaged 12.1 points, 5 assists and 6.3 rebounds a game in his three years, made the winning basket over Villanova in triple overtime to win Syracuse’s first Big East Championship and was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 1983 NBA Draft.

Here is a recent interview of Leo by Mike Waters of

Leo’s son Andy grew up in Syracuse, graduated from Jamesville-Dewitt High School and played for Boeheim from 2005-10. Andy is one of the great success stories of the program, because coming in he was not heavily recruited and some thought he only got a spot on the Orange because of his father’s legendary status with the program.

But Andy proved to be great on his own and was drafted by the New York Knicks in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft after a senior campaign where he averaged 12 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds on a loaded Syracuse basketball team that finished 30-5.

That 2010 team was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, but would have surely cruised to the Final Four if center Arinze Onuaku hadn’t gotten injured during the Big East Tournament. Andy played 49 minutes off the bench in the legendary 6OT Big East Tournament game vs. UConn in 2009, hitting six 3-pointers in the game and scoring 20 points.

Andy Rautins’ highlights:

3. Buddy and Jimmy Boeheim.

The coach’s sons.

Last year, during Buddy Boeheim’s junior season, he caught fire during a game in February against Notre Dame. Buddy finished with 29 points, in a win that set the Orange in motion to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. That game also kicked off a blistering 9-game run by Buddy where he averaged 24.5 points and made 48% of his 3-pointers (44-of-90). Buddy scored 55 points in the first two games of the NCAAs, leading Syracuse basketball to the Sweet 16.

Let’s hope he is still on that hot streak as his senior year begins, as all the media focus on his smile and pre-season accolades are pouring in.

Enjoy all 30 of Buddy’s points in the Orange upset of San Diego State in the first round of the last year’s tournament:

Jimmy hasn’t played an official game yet for the Orange, but he’s played plenty on the Carrier Dome (and Melo Center) floors, since he was a little kid. All the crazy timing due to the ramifications of the pandemic helped lead to Jimmy’s chance to transfer to Syracuse from Cornell. Jimmy played three years at Cornell, facing Syracuse basketball in the Dome each year, and he averaged an impressive 16.7 points and 5.6 boards in his junior season (2019-20). I am sure by the time this year is over, they’ll clearly be in the top 3 family ties under Boeheim, and certainly his favorite.

The brothers’ mom Juli lends some perspective, from back when Jimmy first faced his Dad’s team at the Dome:

Of note: To clear up any confusion over another famous “family” connection, while the media would often say that talented guards and fan favorites Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters were cousins, they actually weren’t related.

Next. Syracuse Basketball: Orange not the top team in New York state, per report. dark