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SU Basketball: A Lot Can Happen In A Couple Of Months

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Holy crap have I missed a lot the last two months since I've been on something of a writing sabbatical! Still, though, through the all the recent bad-PR storms, Syracuse rarely steers off course for long. Which is a very refreshing thought right now.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Bucks Baseball? Sure, let me tell you all about it...


That's not the topic right now, for a brief moment for me anyway. Not with so much Syracuse University hoops to get to! So much I want to jump into, especially since it's been so long since I last wrote, but, really, I have no clue where to begin.

I mean, since I last was here, Syracuse has been hammered by the NCAA Infractions Committee, the basketball program lost out on a key recruit (which may have but may not have but probably did have to do with those NCAA issues) and Chris McCullough either shocked the world or simply stayed on his path by entering his name into June's NBA draft.

Oh yeah, Ron Patterson and B.J. Johnson left town, too! (Johnson taking my bandwagon with him. Don't worry, though, I'll drive that thing to Philly and watch Johnson play at La Salle.) With those two gone, along with McCullough and Rakeem Christmas outtie, too, SU is going through some drastic changes all over the place.

What a pretty crazy last couple of months!

A pretty crazy last couple of months for me, too.

These have been some...fairly insane...days that haven't allowed for me to smack away at my laptop keyboard much. Seriously, look at that headline in the last link! "McClusky Named Bucks GM," say WHAAT? Sure, it's just minor league independent baseball in northern New York, but I've been operating the last five-plus weeks as general manager of a freaking professional freaking baseball freaking franchise! We may tank, we may crush it in attendance and on the field, who knows? But, in victory or in defeat, in ceremony or in scandal, this shhh is on me.


It's nuts, this taking a nothing and trying to make it into a something. From ideas into real-live players and staff. From empty stadium into fully-packed theater for the baseball fan and for the fan of just getting out and doing something.

Anyway, though, with my being so busy, I haven't had the chance to try and put the current state of Syracuse Basketball into perspective. It's actually a little coincidental or maybe ironic, or both, or neither (damned if I know). The last time I changed careers on a dime, jumping into the deep end blindfolded, was right around when the Bernie Fine news broke.

This doesn't feel like that, but it's oddly close. More "reports" and "accusations" and, but of course, plenty o' HOTTER-THAN-HOT TAKES.

Even now, in April, Syracuse is kind of the Razor Ramon of college athletics. Back in 2011, SU was somehow being painted as the next Penn State. Now, SU has been crafted into a combination of SMU and UNC and UNLV and just about every "rogue" program that ever was or ever will be. Jim Boeheim is the bad guy, Chico.

Of course, that's not really the case. Rules were broken, sure, but anyone calling for Boeheim's job based off the report is probably doing so for other reasons. Maybe they don't like the coach's general attitude, or maybe they're sick of his longevity, or the fact that such an old curmudgeon could be treated like a rock star. But if we're all being honest, Boeheim and company should be embarrassed, they should be reprimanded and we all should get on with our lives.

Which is really the point here: life does go on. I don't mean to sound like I'm giving advice on dealing with tragedy. Syracuse's losing some scholarships, vacating some wins and dealing with bad press is not Earth shattering. Yet, over the last couple of months, did you refresh Twitter a few times expecting more shoes to drop for the program? (I always thought the limit on shoes falling was two? Not so the case here.) From the self-imposed tourney ban to Daryl Gross' "stepping down" to Boeheim's announcing "he'll retire in three years," it seems like there is always something with Syracuse.

But in a few months from now? It'll all die down. We all very much know it.

Hell, by the time the season starts, no one will be pining for Thomas Bryant or even thinking about the 2014-15 season. There will be so much damned excitement; basketball will be back. Boeheim will be there. And Syracuse will roll on, like it always does. I know, there are those appeals still to go, and losing schollys will cause changes. Still, there will be an end to this and a restart to everything else Syracuse. It's a cycle even with a few hiccups every so often.

There's bigger changes coming, like whenever Boeheim actually does step down and when the Carrier Dome is officially shuttered. But that's all in possibly distant future. Syracuse Basketball, despite the violations, penalties, etc., is still very much in the present.

That I know.

And as I scour our little slice of the world, selling Watertown Bucks to just about anyone who will listen, businesses, potential fans, or possible players (or agents), I tend to think of Boeheim and the current state of his program. Whatever helps get me through the endlessly stressful days, I suppose. We all know that everything will eventually move forward. A preseason top-30-ish team will likely crack the top-20 a few times this coming season. Then, who knows about the following year, right? That's kind of what I daydream about as I'm roaming the roads.

Not necessarily the actual team or its players. Instead, thinking of the day my team's fans will have what fans know they have in the Syracuse Orange: A sixth sense of calmness in calamity. Death, taxes, and Syracuse basketball.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, the Watertown Bucks. Well, we're a brand new minor league franchise starting up next month and...