Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange met with reporters on Wednesday as they prepared for Thursday's game against the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs. Here are the quotes to prove it.
Jim Boeheim on Fabricio Melo:
"He’s one of the best shot-blockers in the country. You’re going to miss a guy like that. Nobody has anybody quite like him.
I feel bad for him. I feel bad for the rest of the players on the team because you don’t want to lose a teammate in this situation at this time. It’s a very difficult thing to go through."
"I will say he didn’t let anybody down, in my opinion, all right?’ I know that’s out there. I don’t believe that to be true.’’
"I have not seen a bigger improvement from a player that I've coached in one year.''
Boeheim on when he first knew about Fab's issue:
Boeheim on whether or not he's dealing with all the off-the-court issues surrounding the program:
"I'm just dealing with this team. I'm not dealing with anything else.''
Boeheim on whether or not he'll play three guards at once:
"During the course of the game, I wouldn't rule anything out"
Boheim on the loss to Notre Dame without Fab Melo:
"We lost to Notre Dame because 9 guys played bad."
Boeheim on UNC-Asheville:
"They're shocking to me to be a 16 seed"
Dion Waiters on the Fab Melo situation:
"They told us. He spoke. He said he was sorry for what was going on. He (said) he loves us, and he’s got our back no matter what. That’s the biggest thing. He’s going to be with us in spirit.’’
"Everything we’ve been going through this year, we’ve been able to overcome it. You can’t overcome this. It’s the end. It’s the last ride. I would like for everybody to be here as a team. But things happen for a reason, and whatever they may be, we just have to be ready to play.’’
"We don’t pay it no mind. We play basketball, that’s it. We go to class and play basketball. Everything off the court, it don’t even matter.’’
"We don’t pay it no mind, it (doesn’t) matter at this point. We still believe in ourselves. We believe we’re capable of winning the national championship with or without Fab. That’s it. We believe in it."
"We found out once we got here pretty much. It’s not something that hit us all of the sudden, we were informed. We’ve done it before (played without him), so we’ll be ready."
Scoop on the team's depth:
"One thing everybody was saying about our team is our depth and how deep we're as a team. This is an opportunity for everybody. We have to believe in ourselves and everybody has to step it up a notch and we should be fine."
Scoop on the expectations of the team:
"They were saying we weren't a good team when we had Fab. That's everybody's opinion, but, we still believe in ourselves and we believe we're capable of wining the National Championship."
Boeheim on comparing this situation to 2010:
"We were really playing seven players that year, and it was fine because they had multiple positions. But when Arinze went out Ricky (junior Rick Jackson) had to go to center full-time. So, that took away our power forward; and Kris Joseph, who was the Sixth-Man of the Year in the country had to start, we lost our sixth-man."
Kris Joseph on how he and Scoop's senior leadership will come in handy:
"Our teammates look to us. Our presence has to be felt.''
UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach on Fab Melo's absense:
"We have to be concerned with what we do well, not the problems that Syracuse might have. They’re still a great team and the No. 1 seed, so we have our work cut out for us.’’
Biedenback on his team's chances:
"It gives us a better chance to win, but we have to take advantage of his absence. That's a huge loss for them, but they are a very deep team, and they have enough size and depth to overcome that loss."
UNCA's Matt Dickey on Fab Melo's absence:
"It's a positive for us, because his size on defense would have caused problems for us. But they will just go to their bench and pull out another McDonald's All-American. Hopefully, he will be a little smaller and we can attack their zone a little more."
"I don’t think they will change anything they do. They have people who can step in and play pretty well and keep the same intensity with that defense."