Im starting a campaign as of now. Hopefully Sean will get in on this because anything he posts is always the first story on google news when you search syracuse. He built a team that went from just outside the top 25 to 3/4 in the polls. Picked to finish 6th in the Big East, now a contender for a national title. Off to the best start in school history and still clinging to that underdog roll. Other teams may be more talented, but SU has the better team.
Jim and his staff have put together the exact kind of team coaches preach about. Fundamentally sound,overacheaving, unselfish, humble winners. And they have done it with out any High School All Americans. And not even that, no players who were in the top 50 of their class.
They have bought into a team concept as evident by the high assist numbers. Guys are looking for good shots as opposed to getting their shot as evident by our nation leading FG%. And this squad is playing phenomenal defense. They have been able to SHUT IT DOWN and extend the zone beyond the 3pt arc. Defense is the ignition for the offense. The guys are clinging to the underdog roll, over achieving and out hustling opponents. They are big, long, strong and tough as nails.
The Mookie situation could have derailed this final 4 train. Jimmy should get credit for how well he and coach Hop handled that. Mookie is now a happy contributor to the squad.
For everyone who knocked Jim and his staff, calling for him to step down, play more man to man, change his ways - shame on you. The only thing he should be criticized for is getting away from what made him a HOF 800 win coach. His staff was glamored by McDonald's All Americans (overlooking their size and lack of D) and got away from the system. Now with pieces that fit SU is running like a well oiled machine.
Go down the roster and imagine how these guys would do on other teams. None of them would have half the experience they have already. Andy would be burred on the bench. AO and Ricky would not have any of the post moves they do (credit Bernie). Wes struggled for two years at Iowa State. Brandon would be on the bench at UConn or Georgetown. Scoop at Nova.
Now there is talk of several players have real chances to play in the NBA. Wes looks like a lock for a lottery pick, Kris Jo in a year is a projected 1st rounder. Andy could go in the second. Ricky has a chance.
Wins against Cal, Cornell, Georgetown, UNC, Memphis, @WVU, @Seton Hall, @Florida (there someone had to say it) make for a very good resume. One that even has Doug G trying to get back into Mr Boeheim's good graces.
The kicker is - Jim knew. He told everyone this would be a good team. A better team than last years sweet 16 squad. But why listen to a HOF Coach with the most 20 win seasons? The job Jim and his staff has done this year, from identifying talent, developing those guys and getting this team playing the way they are has been the best example of how a college program SHOULD be run and for that Jim (and his staff) should be honored in the season he got to 800 wins.
UPDATE: People are starting to come around
Pat Forde, ESPN College Basketball Nation blog: "If the voting were held today, Jim Boeheim should be the national Coach of the Year. He's first by a solid margin on my ballot, with Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, BYU's Dave Rose and Kansas State's Frank Martin thereafter in some order."
"If there was ever a year, he should be up for it this year."
In the article, Coach B also gets in his shot at the down UNC squad
"When you lose your three leading scorers [low preseason rankings] are automatic pretty much," Boeheim said. "But they don't do that with North Carolina."
Suck on that Dicky V.