Syracuse Basketball Players Pay Tribute To Bernie Fine

SYRACUSE, NY - NOVEMBER 19: Dion Waiters #3, Mookie Jones #21 and Michael Carter-Williams look on during a foul shot during the game against the Colgate Raiders at the Carrier Dome on November 19, 2011 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)

I'm sure you noticed the empty seat next to Jim Boeheim for most of the game between the Syracuse Orange and Colgate Red Raiders. You probably assumed it was Boeheim's doing, as a tribute to his friend and assistant Bernie Fine.

Turns out it wasn't Jimmy B's idea, it was Fab Melo's.

How bout that?

It was an idea, Scoop Jardine said, conjured up by Melo ― a player who viewed Fine as a role model.

"We told him we are going to play hard for him," Melo said. "And that's going to be the whole season."

"That's a guy we love and miss him on the team," SU center Fab Melo said. "So yeah, that was a tribute."

And Melo wasn't alone. The team was unanimous in its support of their coach against allegations of child molestation.

"Yeah, we left his seat open in honor of him. Everything we did tonight is what Coach Fine would have wanted us to do. We just have to keep playing great basketball and keep pushing forward and try to win every game...We got out of the game, we tapped the seat. It’s like giving him a high-five." - Scoop Jardine

"Every night we step out there, we're just going to play the way he would want us to play. Hopefully we're going to get him back soon." - Baye Moussa Keita

"My initial reaction was this can't be true. It must be a different Syracuse team somewhere else, it must be a different coach named Bernie Fine." - Brandon Triche

"It’s respect. He’s been here since Day One. We respect Bern 100 percent here. Bern’s a great guy. And he’s always looking to get us better." - James Southerland

"Bernie is a part of our family so it hurts, but we have to block it out and play basketball." - C.J. Fair

"I didn't even know what was going on. Is it true? Is that really Coach Fine? Things like this, you've got to have his back. And you've just got to continue to pray for him and hope everything work out and hope that everything going on isn't true. I just hope everything works out for Coach Fine, man. He's a great guy. He's been a great guy since I've been here. I'm always going to have him in my prayers, hoping everything works out great." - Dion Waiters

Posted by Lauren Long/Post-Standard

Local fans support team, university at first game after Fine allegations...Daily Orange

Local, national media descend on Syracuse to cover Fine allegations...Daily Orange

SU basketball fans voice support of Bernie Fine...Syracuse.com

Jim Boeheim wins as Bernie Fine's Carrier Dome seat sits empty during game against Colgate...Bud Poliquin

Orange win as town confronts allegations...FoxSports

Penn State student supports hometown team at the dome...9WSYR

Syracuse's depth key to its goals...ESPN

Rony Seikaly defends Bernie Fine...ESPN

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