Mar 21, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Syracuse Orange players huddle up around head coach Jim Boeheim (right) during practice the day before the semifinals of the east region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Say it with me...We Talkin' Bout Practice!
The Syracuse Orange took to the court Wednesday in a final practice before Thursday's Sweet Sixteen showdown with the Wisconsin Badgers. They also spoke with reporters on hand to give some final thoughts.
The best article you'll read today in terms of making you feel good about how motivated this team is would be this one by Donna Ditota. Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine share their thoughts on the soul-crushing experience that was the Butler loss in the Sweet Sixteen in 2010 and how they can't allow their SU careers to end the same way.
"I remember the feeling," SU forward Kris Joseph said. "I remember big Arinze crying. Everyone was pretty down. That was another year we were supposed to do great things. That’s the feeling I’m not ready to feel again."
"Honestly, yeah, Butler did surprise us. I’m not going to lie," SU guard Scoop Jardine said. "They jumped out on us early. They really surprised us in that game. Being a part of that shapes us up for right now. Wisconsin’s a way better team than Butler was. They can beat us if we don’t play the right way."
Meanwhile, Gerry McNamara hopes the team keeps its focus on there here and now:
"These guys need to worry about this year. That’s all that matters. They’ve been able to do that to this point, so why change it?"
Boeheim used his presser to clarify his statement earlier this week that he did not "enjoy coaching." He used an analogy that he hoped a doctor operating on him didn't enjoy his job either. While we can all figure out what he meant, he was asked to clarify all the same...
"I don't want to make fun of‑‑ make light of what a doctor does. But what we do to us is very serious, and we need to‑‑ we can make jokes and comments and stuff, but it's very serious. It's what we do, and we want to do it right, be able to get it right. I've never associated‑‑ a better comment would be if I want to have fun, I'll go to play golf. This is not fun. If I wasn't getting paid, I wouldn't be doing this. I don't think too many of you would be sitting out here if you weren't getting paid, would you? No, I don't think so.
"You get satisfaction out of doing something right, just like everybody does, and I get a lot of satisfaction when we do things right and play right. That's the way it should‑‑ I think that's the way it should be."
For anyone thinking that C.J. Fair is sick or injured, he told reporters that he is neither. If it were me, I'd have said I'm playing on two broken legs. Gets more sympathy than saying you're in a slump.
The team also wants you to know they're not feeling pressure from being Fab-less. So that's good.
Scoop talked a lot about the team and how they've handled the adversity of the season:
Coach has been the biggest part of it. He's our leader. The way he's handled everything on and off the court has helped us a lot, because he's our leader. He's everything to us, and we go on how he's acting. With everything that's been happening as far as on and off the court, he's been handling it in a manly fashion. We look at him through tough times like this, and he was great throughout the whole thing and allowed us to be even better because all we had to do was worry about basketball. That's the main thing. He's the coach, and that's all that he worries about. So that has helped us get over all the tough times that we had.
And Kris continued the praise for Coach Boeheim:
Coach is a guru. He knows everything. The thing with him, he has like the greatest memory of -- something could happen in a game, he'll remember the time, where the ball -- who had the ball, things like that. It's great to have a coach that's so in tune with everything, and that just helps us that much more on the court. He can watch a game one time and tell you how a team is going to play us. He doesn't even have to watch a full game. He's been around the game so much, coached at different levels and seen so many things that it's so much easier to play for a coach like that.
There are some great photos of the players and fans over at Syracuse.com, check'm out. There's also this photo, which I love...
You want videos of the Syracuse team practicing? By God, you shall have them...
Orange Fizz has a whole bunch of videos as well...