Forget wondering if Michael Carter-Williams will leave early following the 2012-2013 season. Hell, forget wondering if C.J. Fair might parlay a strong finish into an early exit as well.
No, the early exit that's on every Syracuse Orange fan's mind, whether conscious or subconscious, is the one that becomes more and more likely every time a notable college basketball program fires their head coach.
Of course you know about the USC Trojans gig. You also know that Hopkins has interviewed for the post and that there is probably some kind of interest. With Jamie Dixon out of the running, some think Hopkins is the top candidate.
Now you can throw the UCLA Bruins into the mix because well, if USC, why not UCLA as well? The Bruins might want to hire a big name because they're UCLA but then again, they might also want an LA guy with major school recruiting experience too.
And then there's the Minnesota Golden Gophers position. Now you might be thinking there's no way Hopkins leaves Syracuse for that but that's because you don't know that Hopkins and Minnesota's assistant AD have a cozy relationship.
Ellis is the founder of something called Villa 7, a kind-of connecter between high-profile assistant coaches and athletic directors. In that article from last year, Hopkins is quoted as being a big fan of the program. Of course, Ellis came to Minny from VCU, where he hired some guy named Shaka Smart, so everyone expects that to be the play. Just don't think Hop isn't keeping an eye on his cellphone for Ellis' number.
Will Mike Hopkins leave Syracuse despite being coach-in-waiting? Sure, he might. I can think of one TNIAAM commenter in particular who will scoff at the idea of Hopkins not "honoring his contract," but, that's absurd. If Mike Hopkins gets a rainmaker offer, he'll take it. There's no telling if Jim Boeheim plans to coach another year or another five, though if Hop does leave, it does make you want to lean towards the latter.
All we know for sure is, so long as the USC, UCLA & Minnesota jobs are available, it's possible. And that's not something that sits well with us. So go hire Shaka Smart and Fred Hoiberg and Brad Stevens so that we can stop hyperventilating about losing not only the guy expected to replace Jim Boeheim but also the recruiter who helped make Jim Boeheim into the successful coach he is today.