Syracuse Basketball: Jim Boeheim is in the news for all the wrong reasons

Syracuse basketball, Jim Boeheim (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Jim Boeheim (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

I’d like to stress two things at the onset here in my column about Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim.

Number one, I’m a proud SU alumnus and a passionate fan of the Orange hoops program. I love Coach Boeheim. I really do. If he comes back for another season, or two or three, I’m good with it, despite the team’s decline in recent years (at least as far as regular-season performances are concerned).

Number two, in recent days and in recent weeks, there has been a flood of negative press regarding Boeheim, whether it has to do with his interactions with student reporters in press conferences, making comments about NIL and other teams, discussing Syracuse Orange donors and boosters, offering apologies, and so on and so forth.

I have no interest in rehashing all of this bad press. Many, many Syracuse basketball beat writers, bloggers, national media outlets and others have detailed what has gone on of late with Jim Boeheim. My approach here is something different.

Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim, I beg you, please focus on winning games, not this outside drama.

By and large, in my multiple decades of being a huge Syracuse basketball fan, I’ve been fine with Boeheim’s candidness, rants, commentary, etc. I do appreciate it when doesn’t sugarcoat things. I really do.

That being said, to me, what he’s uttered lately in the press serves no purpose. It is a distraction. It’s unproductive. Frankly, I find it a little exhausting.

What I’d really love is if Jim Boeheim could focus his efforts on the current 2022-23 season, and his current 2022-23 squad. As the Orange gets set to play at Florida State on Wednesday evening, the ‘Cuse sits at 14-10 overall and  7-6 in Atlantic Coast Conference competition after beating Boston College on the road this past Saturday.

Syracuse basketball has a relatively young roster and a bunch of close, tough losses to quality foes. I opined not too long ago that I think the Orange’s future can still be bright, despite a 14-10 mark to date in 2022-23 and a 16-17 record a stanza ago.

Since the ‘Cuse doesn’t have any quadrant-one victories so far this term, the team likely will have to win the upcoming ACC Tournament to land an invite to this spring’s Big Dance. Otherwise, the Orange is staring down the possibility of missing the NCAA Tournament for two straight seasons, and Boeheim’s recent antics aren’t doing him any favors with the ‘Cuse fan base.

From my perspective, more and more fans are ready for a new head coach, regardless of what Boeheim has said on this topic. I’m good with Jim Boeheim continuing to coach, because he’s a Hall of Famer, and his resume doesn’t need to be recited here.

However, if Syracuse basketball continues to put forth sub-par campaigns, and Jim Boeheim keeps on making headlines for all the wrong reasons, that’s a problem.

With the transfer portal and NIL, college basketball is in a different place than it was a few decades, or a few years, ago. If Boeheim doesn’t like where collegiate hoops is, that’s his right. But why continue to coach then?

The 2022-23 roster includes several really promising freshmen. As I wrote about the other day, recruiting efforts by the ‘Cuse coaching staff appear in a strong groove. As I’ve detailed many times in recent months, businessman Adam Weitsman is investing significant time and money to make NIL deals with current SU student-athletes, as well as high-school recruits.

There are positives these days occurring on the Hill. But this drama casting a cloud over the Syracuse basketball program isn’t positive. Not in the least. If Jim Boeheim wants to remain at the helm on the Hill, I’m fine with that. So long as his singular focus is on winning games.

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