Syracuse Basketball Roundtable #2: 900 Wins, Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche, and a Wish for Santa

No, not THAT guy who's famous this time of year. - Mike Stobe

With Jim Boeheim’s 900th career win in the rearview mirror, and the first loss of the season just a few days ago, it is time to reconvene the TNIAAM writers’ roundtable and see what’s on the minds of our scholarly crew.

Now that the celebration is over, what do Jim Boeheim's 900 wins really mean in the grand scheme of things?

Dan Lyons: It's a testament to the one thing that Boeheim has over just about every other coach I can think of - consistency. Boeheim's teams are competitive every year; at worst, his team's have ended up on the bubble. In my four years at SU, the Orange were either a trendy final four pick as a three seed, or a legitimate final four pick as a one seed each year. Boeheim has to be the only coach knocked for winning a national championship, because his teams are so good every season that it seems strange for many that someone with his resume would only have one title. However, that really is ignoring just how fickle college basketball, especially come tournament time, can be. One of my favorite stats that has floated around is that if Keith Smart misses that shot in 1987, if nothing else changes, (as of the Detroit game) Boeheim and Bob Knight would both have 901 wins and two national titles. How different would Boeheim's legacy be? That's not even bringing up the Arinze Onuaku injury or the Fab Melo suspension or the early 1990s NCAA sanctions or John Wallace fouling out of the title game in 1996. In a slightly different universe, Boeheim could have three national titles and be locked in as one of the five greatest coaches of all time. The 900 wins might actually be a better indicator of how good the program has been for a long time.

John Cassillo: Just another huge achievement for the coach who means more to his program than any other. Of course, there are still detractors, but it means there's little doubt about his importance to the game beyond the Syracuse campus. As was touched on the other day, another title cements his status as a true, unassailable legend though.

Chris Daughtrey: It's hard to compare all-time greats since the landscape of college basketball was so different when guys like Rupp and Wooden were racking up titles hand over fist. Say what you want about Boeheim's titles, Final Fours or lack thereof. One thing remains constant. You don't get to 900 wins without having coached a sh!t ton of games. And you don't get to be a coach for that long if you're not any good at it. Maybe the gaudy win total is simply due to the fact he's been around for so long. I tend to think it's the other way around.

Andrew Pregler: What it means is that Boeheim is now national recognized as one of the elite coaches I'm the land. Yes, the pundits can add all of their "but ifs" but only Coach K carries the same clout and respect at his university that Boeheim commands at Cuse. Boeheim needs another ring to silence everyone but anyone who isn't out for ratings realizes Boeheim is one of the best ever.

Matt McClusky: Honestly, I have no idea, really. It's a little like Boeheim said himself, is 900 that much more important than 800, or 700? I mean, of course it's a major milestone, but with Boeheim unlikely to ever catch Mike Krzyzewski, I think 900 is just furthers what Syracuse fans already knew, that Boeheim is a special coach and that we are lucky he's here.

Sean Keeley: Ultimately, 900 wins is a really great resume line that cements Jim Boeheim's spot among the best coaches of all-time. However, the fact of the matter is that people will continue to look at Boeheim's championships total and compare it to his overall win total and say he's overrated or isn't truly elite. Like everything in stats, it all comes down to perception. In a weird way, Boeheim's win total will be a negative in the eyes of some unless he has a second championship, when all of a sudden that win total will be one more positive in a long line of positives.

Along the same lines - MCW and the reported shoplifting incident. Big deal, little deal, or no deal at all?

DL: I'd go with little deal. In a perfect world, all of our players are 4.0 students and model citizens and we win the national championship every year. However, like most programs, we have our issues pretty often. In the grand scheme of things, even just over the last few years, there have been far worse allegations than what MCW did by our players and many others. That's not to excuse him from breaking the law, I'm just being realistic. College students do stupid things every second of every day, and a lot of them never get caught and never go through the public shaming that Michael will because of his basketball-playing ability. If you think that he should held to a higher standard, that's fair, and if I were coach I probably would have suspended him for a game. But for some people to act like this one event puts Syracuse over the edge as a "rogue program" or say that this is the straw that breaks the camel's back and that they can't support Syracuse basketball anymore (I've seen this a few times...he internet is awesome). For that reaction to come from a bathrobe and pair of gloves is just bizarre to me.

JC: Whenever things like this and the Scoop Jardine SUpercard incident happen, you just have to shake your head. They're given a lot of privileges as Syracuse basketball players, and it's almost offensive to see them resort to stealing at times. MCW's issue appears to be an isolated incident, but it's worth keeping tabs on stuff like this going forward. If we see more, then it's a character flaw among these guys that ultimately shows itself in the NCAA tournament.

CD: No deal. Needless to say, it was a dumb move. But there was no police involvement. The matter was settled on the spot and, from what I've heard and read, it was pretty standard procedure for such a situation. So, it's not as if MCW received special treatment or was treated unfairly because he's the most famous point guard in Syracuse. And, given that no discipline was handed out by Jim B., I think Carter-Williams has learned his lesson and will put his appetite for Ralph Lauren on hold for a few months until he signs his rookie NBA contract.

AP: None. It's just like anything else with the law: you can make a messy public viewing of justice or settle. MCW settled and is innocent. Certain people get to settle quicker than others. Next.

MM: Can I go with all three and combine them into a "weird deal"? The whole thing, his playing it off, the fact that he reportedly tried to steal a bathrobe and gloves, and even the sources coming out and talking about it was just strange. I'll say it's not a big deal, but of course, I could change that opinion should more facts come out or something else happen (both of which I don't think will happen).

SK: At this point, little deal. He's a young guy who made a dumb mistake and paid for it with public humiliation. He's lucky it wasn't worse and I would like to think he now knows to never do that again...at least until he's out of SU. Legally, things are solved and so we move forward until the day before the NCAA Tournament when the NCAA magically announces that they are opening an investigation and MCW is banned from competition until the conclusion of that investigation. You think I'm kidding...

Are we expecting too much from Brandon Triche? Has he peaked as a college basketball player?

DL: I think that all depends on what your expectations of Triche are. I expected him to continue on his path of progression, and to be a solid defender and one of our more consistent scoring options. I think that he's done that. He's only had one really bad game, against Detroit, but even with that game factored in he's averaging 14.5 points and just under four assists and rebounds in 30.5 minutes per game. That's pretty solid production. I don't know if he's peaked, but I was pretty confident that I knew what to expect from Triche this year, and he's lived up to those expectations.

JC: What are we expecting from Brandon Triche? Beyond his dreadful performance against Detroit, I've been happy with his play all season. Scores in double-figures, makes an effort on both ends, knows how to be an emotional leader, and can hit big shots when called upon. I don't know. To me, that seems like the type of play we usually see out of Syracuse guards. He's peaked as a college player (not a bad thing), but he can still grow further as a pro in a different system.

CD: Maybe I'm missing something, but aside from falling a little flat against Detroit, Triche has seemed pretty solid to me. He's not second on the team in scoring and assists for nothing. Hell, if James Southerland wasn't hitting 45% of his 3's, Triche would lead the team in scoring. Sure, he reached his physical peak as a sophomore. But in terms of leadership and stepping up when it matters, he's done a great job for the most part. The example that stands out to me most is the Arkansas game. Once J-South cooled off a little in the second half and the Hogs started to make a run, Triche scored something like eight straight himself in under a minute. That's what the Orange need from him and, the Detroit game not withstanding, he's delivered.

AP: I never thought Triche was the "NBA Talent" people were ravings about at the beginning of last season. He's a good player. He's consistently above average and you can count on him to not make a boneheaded play. But he's not going to be that next level guy MCW has proven to be. I think it's safe to say he just doesn't have the explosiveness or physical ability. I think he could prove me wrong, but should have done so by now.

SK: Sometimes I think Brandon Triche is expecting too much from Brandon Triche. Ultimately I think Triche is in the same mold of Kris Joseph. They are both extremely-talented, four-year basketball players who have potentials far beyond what they're actually going to accomplish. Triche just isn't going to become the consistent star we hoped he might...and maybe that's okay, so long as he cuts down on the nights when its a trainwreck. We're going to need him at least a couple times this season with James Southerland and MCW are ice cold. I just hope he's there.

If you could ask Santa for ONE thing for the SU basketball team, what would it be?

DL: I really really really want to win a national championship really bad so people like Doug Gottlieb will shut up about Boeheim (doubtful) and our program can finally be ascended to the ranks of the truly elite in the eyes of the nation that's all I really want Santa can I have that I've been really good this year can I can I can I?

JC: This one isn't obvious? Dear Santa: Please let the Syracuse University men's basketball team win its second NCAA National Championship. We're all loyal to a fault, and I think we deserve this more than the other fan bases. I've also been at least marginally good this year, so please take that into consideration. Signed, John

CD: I suppose it would be too trite to ask for a title, so I'll ask for no more drama. This MCW kerfuffle is nothing compared to the stuff they went through with Fab and Bernie last season. But, c'mon man. Let's just all go to class, stay away from the bars and shady females and focus. If the reigning national champs are going to play in the ACC next season, I want them to be wearing orange, not Dookie blue.

AP: National Championship Rings. When I was younger I'd put a Steelers Super Bowl win on my list every year so I'll put Cuse on the list since the black and gold are officially out of the playoffs. Or a Jimmy B throwback plaid blazer.

MM: Everyone went with national championship, right? I'll go with everyone playing up to their potential. Meaning: Carter-Williams plays all year like he has been so far, Dajuan Coleman progresses quickly into a star and someone who can stay on the court no matter the situation, Rak Christmas becomes Mr. Lockdown, Trevor Cooney starts hitting threes consistently and continues being Mike Hopkins 2.0 on defense, C.J. Fair continues to do C.J. Fair things, Baye Keita blocks everything and everyone, and Brandon Triche leads the team deep into the belly of the NCAA tourney. That's a lot to ask for, but really it's just "everyone playing up to their potential."

SK: Just once I would love to see a dominant Syracuse center who not only blocks shots and grabs rebounds but also scored in bunches. I know Fab scored some and Arinze Onuaku put up some points, but I'd love to have a center that consistently puts up 15-20 points a night. This team could certainly use someone like that, especially if they keep up the blocks and boards.

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