Jim Boeheim ready for season No. 37 at Syracuse

Jim Boeheim ready for season No. 37 at Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Jim Boeheim shook his head in mock dismay.

``Nobody knew about it. I shouldn't have told anybody,'' Boeheim said, ready for the start of his 37th season at Syracuse.

Everybody around here realizes it now. It's been 50 years since Boeheim enrolled as a freshman, and T-shirts have been printed to mark the occasion.

The 2012-13 season will be like no other in Boeheim's long tenure. It is Syracuse's final year in the Big East before the school moves to the Atlantic Coast Conference, Jim Calhoun has retired at archrival Connecticut, and when the Orange start practicing in earnest after Midnight Madness on Friday night it will mark the first time Boeheim will be without former assistant Bernie Fine in the preseason.

Fine, who started with Boeheim in 1976, was fired last November after sex-abuse allegations lodged by two former ballboys became public. Fine denied the accusations and has yet to be charged. A federal investigation is still under way.

Boeheim, soon to be 68 and just 10 victories shy of 900, says everything seems pretty much the same as it's always been.

``It does not feel different,'' he said. ``Next year I'm sure will feel different because you're in a whole different league. There will be an adjustment period. But this feels like a normal Big East season.

``I think that change is part of what coaches go through,'' he said. ``You lose players, you lose coaches all the time. You replace them. We're fortunate that we've got guys that love Syracuse and are really good. When you're good at this, it doesn't matter how old you are.''

The Orange won a school-record 34 games and lost only three last season. The year came to an end in a 77-70 loss to Ohio State in the final of the East Regional and deprived Syracuse of its fifth Final Four berth.

Syracuse lost a lot from that team - top scorer Kris Joseph, spiritual leader Scoop Jardine, Big East sixth man Dion Waiters, and big man Fab Melo. Waiters and Melo were first-round picks in the NBA draft.

``I don't know when we've lost our top four players,'' Boeheim said. ``I don't know if I can remember that far back. It's probably the most we've ever lost, and yet we played a lot of guys, so we have guys back with big-game experience. We've got a pretty fair amount of experience back considering.''

Syracuse was 29-1 last year with Melo in the lineup. The 7-foot Brazilian led the Big East in blocks and was named defensive player of the year in the conference, but his absence in the postseason - he was declared ineligible for the NCAA tournament - likely will end up helping this year's team.

Syracuse has a stable of imposing big men. Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita performed well in place of Melo in the postseason, and local star DaJuan Coleman, at 6-9 and 288 pounds, is ready to make his mark as a freshman.

``I'll use my size to just push people around,'' said Coleman, a product of Jamesville-DeWitt High School. ``I think I'm pretty prepared.''

His coach concurs.

``He's played four years at a high-level program with a very good coach,'' Boeheim said. ``He got double-teamed all the time, so he's been in a lot of big games with a lot of defensive pressure on him. He has more big-game experience than probably almost any high school kid has.''

Michael Carter-Williams, who displayed dazzling ability in 26 games as a freshman, will take over as starting point guard alongside senior Brandon Triche.

``He learned a lot last year,'' Boeheim said of Carter-Williams. ``I think he'll be more than ready.''

The leadership of Jardine and Joseph will be sorely missed, but Triche, a three-year starter at guard, is ready to assume that role.

``This team is very good,'' Triche said. ``I feel very confident we can make another deep run in the tournament. We lost four key players, but we've got new, improved players ready to step up. I'm excited.''

Forward James Southerland, who had standout performances in the first two games of the NCAA tournament, also is a senior and will be counted on to lead. C.J. Fair, a strong rebounder and efficient scorer who struggled toward the end of last season, is a junior, and shooting guard Trevor Cooney is ready to contribute after redshirting and working diligently through a season of practice.

The Orange's freshman class also includes Jerami Grant, a 6-8 forward from DeMatha Catholic High in Maryland.

``I feel like we have a good team. I think we've got all the pieces,'' Keita said. ``We've got the talent. We're going to be fine.''

Syracuse thrived during the turmoil of last season. The Orange were ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 for the final three months, went undefeated at home (19-0) in the Carrier Dome for only the second time since the building opened in 1980, and won the Big East regular-season title with 17 victories, which matched the conference record.

Toss in three victories over Connecticut, the defending national champion, and two over Louisville, which made the Final Four, and Boeheim had a season to remember.

The question remains how many more might lie ahead. The head man says he has no idea.

``I've been saying the exact same thing for 10 years,'' Boeheim said. ``It's getting close, and I'm definitely going to leave sooner than later, but I have no idea when that's going to be. I just hope at some point in time you know when your time is up, when you're ready. And that hasn't happened, obviously.''

Quick Links

Get ready for the NFL Draft, and get ready for plenty of surprises

Get ready for the NFL Draft, and get ready for plenty of surprises

In some circles of modern culture, producing shocking commentary or content seems like the top goal. Being shocking gets clicks, gets attention, and in turn, gets dollars. 

On NFL Draft night, nothing should be shocking. Remember, last season there was no way Jonathan Allen would fall to the Redskins at 17. There was no way Kansas City would trade up for QB Patrick Maholmes. There was no way Chicago would trade up for Mitchell Trubisky. But all those things happened.

Sure, for months draft experts have expounded about what will happen, but the truth is, once the Browns are on the clock, nobody actually knows anything. 

With that in mind, let's look at a bunch of options that should not shock Redskins fans. 

  • Don't be shocked if Washington takes Minkah Fitzpatrick. They want him.
  • Don't be shocked if the Redskins draft Da'Ron Payne over Vita Vea. Washington loves Payne's potential to be a disruptor in the pass game and his incredible strength. 
  • Then again, don't be shocked if the 'Skins take Vita. Plenty of folks like him too. 
  • Don't be shocked if a team makes a move for Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. That could happen after the Redskins pick at 13, but Washington's pick could also prove important in the race for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
  • Derwin James will be on the 'Skins list, but don't be shocked if he goes off the board before the Redskins pick. 
  • Don't be shocked with a trade back, but remember that isn't the goal. With four QBs expected in the Top 10, an elite talent should make it to Washington at 13. If that happens, the Redskins should take advantage of adding a blue chip to their squad. 
  • Don't be shocked if Virginia Tech LB Tremaine Edmunds ends up wearing the Redskins draft hat. Also, don't be shocked if he plays some outside linebacker in the Washington 3-4 scheme, not just the inside LB role most project for Edmunds. 
  • Don't be shocked if a seemingly sure thing slips all the way to 13. Perhaps that's Quenton Nelson? Or Denzel Ward? Remember, there was no way Jon Allen was supposed to fall to 17 last year.

There are some things Redskins fans should be shocked by. 

  • Washington should not trade up. 
  • Washington should not draft a running back at 13 unless Saquon Barley is available. He won't be.
  • Washington should not draft a wide receiver at 13. 
  • If one of the top four QBs is available at 13, Washington should vigorously work the phones to move the pick. Move down a few spots and get Payne should be the exact plan in that scenario. Arizona at 15 needs a QB. 


Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

It was all going so well for the Wizards in Game 5 on Wednesday night until just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when their offense went from good enough to win to bad enough to alter a series and put their 2017-18 season on life support.

The Wizards head back to Washington down 3-2 and have only themselves to blame. From the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter all the way until 16.2 seconds remining in the game, they did not score a single point. Meanwhile, the Raptors kept rolling and finished that stretch on a 14-5 run. 

The Wizards missed 11 of their final 15 shots. They stopped moving the ball and moving off the ball and even some of their open shots clanged off the backboard or the rim.

It was a stunning display of offensive ineptitude from a team that was above average in scoring during the regular season. 

"We just missed some shots," guard Bradley Beal said. "We feel like we got some good ones, especially down the stretch."

The Wizards managed 20 points in the fourth quarter and 15 came in the first 7:55 of the frame. That would put them on pace for a solid quarter. If they maintained that course, they may have won the game.

Instead, the fourth quarter amounted to a disaster and it cost them dearly. Teams that lose Game 5 to break a 2-2 tie have a 17.2 percent chance of winning the series, based on the league's history.

Otto Porter went scoreless and took one shot in the fourth quarter of Game 5. John Wall had two of his seven turnovers and shot 2-for-6.

"I had two crucial turnovers trying to split screens in the fourth quarter," Wall said. "Just bad reads on my part."

Beal shot 1-for-6 from the field and 1-for-4 from three. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who shot just 40.3 percent from the field during the regular season, took six shots in the fourth quarter, tied for most on the team. He made two of them and missed all three of his threes.

The Wizards had six of their 18 giveaways in the fourth. Though they outrebounded the Raptors 50-35 for the game, they were outdone 15-12 in the frame.

The Wizards' scoreless drought of three minutes and 49 seconds in the fourth quarter was perhaps foreshadowed by some problems with their offense early in the game. There were plenty of stretches characterized by bad shots, turnovers and a lack of passing.

The Wizards' 21 assists in Game 5 were their fewest in the playoffs so far.

"We need more ball movement," Beal said. "We need more player movement. We were way too stagnant."

The fourth quarter has been an issue all series. Only once, in Game 2, did they outscore the Raptors in the final frame. 

The Wizards rank 14th out of 16 playoff teams in fourth quarter points (23.4/g) and dead-last with a 40.4 field goal percentage and 28.1 three point percentage.

This is a bit of a carryover from the regular season. Only five teams shot worse than the Wizards in the fourth quarter (43.7%) and only five teams allowed more points (26.5) to their opponents.

Washington has had issues closing games all year and throughout this series. Wednesday night was an extreme example and it has them just one loss away from elimination.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!