The weather is getting colder, the leaves are turning, and the clouds have moved in for the next six months. It’s October in Syracuse, which means the start of another college basketball season!
While Friday night’s "Orange Madness" is the official public start to the 2012-13 season, SU Athletics holds an annual media day to allow the local press to interview the players before they go to Boeheim Boot Camp for a couple of weeks. The event, held on the Carmelo Anthony Center practice court, featured both the Orange men and women, who posed for pictures and answered questions about the upcoming season.
The men’s portion of the event started with a Jim Boeheim news conference. The questions came fairly quickly, so here’s a paraphrased summary of what he said:
- When asked about what he has seen from the team in workouts so far, he said that they have had "a good fall." In fact, he added that he thinks the team is as ready to go as any he’s had… at this stage of the season. That’s a good sign, but a major hedge.
- Boeheim was asked how the team was going to fare having lost so many key contributors from last season. He responded that he didn’t think he’d had a team that lost as many important players from one season to the next. But, there are still expectation from being ranked again the next year.
- On Michael Carter-Williams sparse minutes last season, he said that any other season he would have gotten plenty of minutes. But on last year’s team he was stuck behind three great players.
- The same goes for Trevor Cooney, who as we know took a redshirt last year and will athletically be a freshman again this season. Boeheim espoused the benefits of Cooney’s year on the sidelines, practicing but not playing in games. He said that Cooney gained more last year than they could have ever hoped.
- Boeheim said Rakeem Christmas has put on about 20 pounds since the end of last season and is stronger. He definitely looks it. Jim says he expects "a lot" from Rak this year.
- When asked about the incoming freshmen, Boeheim said DaJuan Coleman is more than ready to contribute, and has worked hard to get into shape. He says Jerami Grant is "underrated", and will surprise some people. He isn’t THAT "underrated", but who is?
- On a side note, Grant’s younger brother Jaelin was in attendance and watched from the sidelines. He’s 16 years old and looks to stand about 6’7". Apparently it runs in the family.
- Boeheim said Brandon Triche deferred to the guards that were here before him the past few seasons, but now he’s ready to step up and provide leadership. He added that both Triche and C.J. Fair are ready to be the team leaders this season.
- He also said that Triche has been a "good" player for the past three years, but now he expected Triche to be a "great" player.
- Boeheim took a minute to talk about Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who announced earlier in the day that she will leave her job when her contract runs out in June 2014. He praised Cantor, calling her leadership "tremendous". He said he was a little taken aback by the announcement, saying that se allowed the athletic department to build the Melo Center which was "a huge step" for the continued growth of the program.
- Boeheim wrapped up the press conference by saying that the team will "have fun tonight" at Orange Madness, but tomorrow (Saturday) they’ll be ready to go to work. He said it will be a "fun team to watch" this season.
- I’ll have more individual player and coach interviews, in forthcoming posts, including one-on-ones with Boeheim, Hopkins, Cooney, Carter-Williams, Fair, Coleman, and Triche.