Jim Boeheim, surrounded by the chaos of a game, using a moment to teach. We don't see that picture too often, do we? When it comes to Boeheim and cameras, it's usually him yelling at an official, a player or just making a "harumph" face with the throwing of his hands (or "adjusting" his nose).
And that's why I love that photo above; the coach actually coaching. Sometimes I think that gets lost on people, that Boeheim is still one of the best in the game. Sure, we all know he isn't hands on and doesn't run his program like some type of boot camp. But Boeheim knows basketball and he is one hell of a coach even if announcers and writers liken him to more of a caricature.
I get that I'm defending someone inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, a loser just 319 times in 1,267 games as a head coach, by the way. Boeheim needs no one to come to his aid. But sometimes I just can't help myself, even when I know better.
Because sometimes summertime reading includes things like ESPN.com ranking the top-50 coaches in college basketball. And despite such rankings meaning absolutely nothing, I get sucked into the "offseason-page-view" stories and I get angry.
No. 10: Kevin Ollie, UConn
No. 9: John Beilein, Michigan
No. 8: Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
No. 7: Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
No. 6: Bill Self, Kansas
No. 5: Rick Pitino, Louisville
No. 4: Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
No. 3: Tom Izzo, Michigan State
No. 2: John Calipari, Kentucky
No. 1: Billy Donovan, Florida
Jim Boeheim is currently not in the top ten among active coaches according to the panelists at ESPN? Jim Boeheim, he of the national championship and the 948 wins and four decades of sustained success is twelfth?
I mean, where do you begin with this one?
I guess I'll start with ESPN's top five. Personally, I'll always take Mike Krzyzewski number one each and every time. After Coach K? Give me John Calipari followed by Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo and then I would have Billy Donovan. But that's just my opinion mixed with bias and conjecture. I'm certainly not up in arms that ESPN decided to place Donovan first with Krzyzewski fourth. But Boeheim's not being in the top ten? I can't believe he wouldn't at least be sixth.
Seriously, John Beilein above Boeheim? Boeheim's beaten Beilein nine times in ten career games against each other as head coaches. For Pete's sake, Sean Miller comes in at no. 11! Sean Miller! Who actually comprised this "ESPN panel of experts," Gloria Allred, Tony Greene and Gregg Doyle?
The thing I can't really wrap my brain around is the justification for Boeheim's being so low. If the thought is, "Well, he's aging and closer to retirement than his prime," then that's just stupid. Syracuse has averaged 29 wins in the last five seasons -- earning two number one seeds in the NCAA tournament and making a trip to the Final Four in that time. Recruiting is off the charts right now, and, in forecasting ahead, SU could very well be a preseason top-five team in 2015-16. I get that Boeheim hasn't cashed in on all of this with a title, but you could certainly argue that Syracuse basketball, and by extension its head coach, is really in its prime.
Yet there are 11 other "better" coaches out there. Right. I don't care how it's prefaced, someone or someones think there are a lot of other coaches more capable than Jim Boeheim, period.
And what really got me so irked was the final graph regarding Donovan's coming in at number one on this list.
If Donovan finally does decide to scratch that NBA itch, who knows what series of events might ensue? We can be sure of at least one consequence. We'd finally get an answer to the 20-year-old question: Where would Florida be without Billy Donovan?
Where would Florida be without Donovan? Intriguing question, sure, but where would Syracuse be without Jim Boeheim? We all know the answer to that one, there's no need to guess. Syracuse basketball, directly or otherwise, wouldn't be included in too many top-50 rankings, summer or winter.
"Matt, you brilliant son of a bitch, you're getting worked up over N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Boeheim's image and reputation has never really been in line with reality when it comes to the national media. Just calm down."
I know, I know, but Boeheim's being disrespected, or ignored, or whatever, is tough to swallow. Gregg Marshall is now considered better at his job than the Hall of Famer from Central New York? Arbitrary or not, it never ceases to amaze me how people lose sight of Jim Boeheim the coach. Luckily for Syracuse, he'll continue to be directing huddles, even if so-called experts choose to not see him in there leading his team.
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