Well, we finally made it. The 2014-15 Syracuse basketball season is here!
To kick off things off, the team held media day this afternoon at the Carmelo K. Anthony Center. The session started with head coach Jim Boeheim, who answered questions for about 25 minutes. Below are some of the highlights from his press conference:
- Boeheim refused to discuss Syracuse's NCAA hearing, saying he would only talk about basketball.
- On DaJuan Coleman's health: Boeheim insisted nothing has changed on the center's status since he last spoke to the media in September. Coleman has been running on a treadmill, but there's still no timetable on his return, and there likely won't be one until November.
- Expect to see more of Michael Gbinije this season. Boeheim hinted he will receive more minutes than he did a season ago, and that he could serve as Kaleb Joseph's primary backup at point guard.
- Boeheim seems really excited about Rakeem Christmas. If you recall, the coach said in May that he believed Christmas will be the ACC's most improved player this season. Today, he repeatedly praised the forward's newfound leadership abilities.
- Boeheim didn't rule out Chris McCullough seeing time at center this season, saying that, in Syracuse's system, the 4 and 5 positions aren't much different.
- Boeheim said that B.J. Johnson, Ron Patterson, and Tyler Roberson will all see the court this season.
- The most overlooked and underrated loss from last year's team? That would be Baye Moussa Keita, according to Boeheim.
- Boeheim gushed over Kaleb Joseph's work ethic, and added that he's as talented as Tyler Ennis and Michael Carter-Wiliams.
- It didn't take long for Boeheim to be Boeheim. He was asked what he believes will be the biggest challenge of the season. Without hesitation, his answer: "What, besides getting through this?"
- On the keys to success this season, Boeheim joked that Syracuse needs to "score more than the other team" before giving the more serious but equally obvious answers: play defense, limit turnovers, and score.
- In regards to the recent Jameis Winston and Todd Gurley investigations, Boeheim said he has no rules against his players signing autographs. He even added that he encourages players to sign autographs.
After Boeheim's press conference, individual players were made available. I spoke with Joseph, Coleman, and Christmas.
- Joseph: Feels Syracuse is a great fit for his style of play...says he's been getting a lot of advice from Carter-Williams, with whom he speaks to on the phone frequently...says he doesn't feel pressure to follow in the footsteps of Ennis and MCW...first time he met Boeheim? "It was a little weird," but added he was in awe...out of the recent SU point guards, compares himself most to Johnny Flynn...and, most importantly, says Varsity is his favorite spot to eat on campus
- Coleman: Basically, Coleman reiterated everything Boeheim said. He's still unsure of when he'll return, but says his knee is reacting "pretty well" to running. He also added that not being able to play has been extremely frustrating, and that he can't wait to get healthy and get back on the court.
- Christmas: As far as the leadership responsibilities, Christmas said he "just wants to go out there and help his teammates out." He said he's especially looking forward to playing with McCullough, and that this season he just expects to "give it all, try to be a leader, and have fun with my teammates." Good talk, Rakeem.
I'll be back later tonight with a full recap of Orange Madness, which gets underway at 8:00 p.m.