While Gonzaga was barking like some junkyard (bull) dogs about beating the zone yesterday, the Syracuse Orange had a much less consequential time with attended media in Chicago. Jim Boeheim, Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney all spoke to press on Thursday in advance of SU's Sweet 16 matchup on Friday night.
Syracuse.com grabbed a lot of the quotes over on Twitter, so you can swing over there for a full, chronological look at how the press conference went down, along with resulting stories.
Gbinije and Cooney's time was pretty short, but the former did share one quality note on his transition to point guard.
Gbinije on transitioning to point guard. "During practice, coach told me to run the point. Got thrown into fire against MCW and Tyler Ennis.— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
When Boeheim arrived for his own session, he expanded upon that change -- one that's become the key to a resurgent offense of late:
Boeheim on Gbinije going to point: "His first year he was barely a two. We used him at small forward. He didn't have PG skills but he worked— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
Boeheim says Gbinije is most improved player he's had at Syracuse.— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
Boeheim on Gbinije: "His stats are player of the year stats.''— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
The above proves just how much Jim CAN actually change his mind, especially given his disregard for Mike when assistant coach Adrian Autry first brought up the possibility of bringing the Duke transfer aboard. Boeheim shared more in the post (see previous link) on Syracuse.com:
"This year we just decided early that he was going to be the point guard. We adjusted our offense a little bit. He's not a normal true point guard, but he's gotten better and better, and he gives you a bigger presence there. I think the biggest thing he's done is his judgment has gotten much better. His ball handling has gotten much better. Also it's not crucial, but his shooting has gotten better, which helps you to get defenses up on you, stuff like that.''
He also never would have envisioned Gbinije as a point guard when he transferred. It's something that's baffled Duke fans as well, who saw a complete opposite player during his short time down in Durham.
Jim also talked about Syracuse's opponent, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, because it's usually good to address your opponent a bit before a game.
He's friends with Zags coach Mark Few, if you didn't know. But he also talked about Gonzaga star Kyle Wiltjer:
Boeheim on Wiltjer: "He's as good as anybody against any defense. He's as good as anybody in the country.''— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
Boeheim closes with some notes on the oft-criticized handling of Tyler Roberson earlier this season. Syracuse.com put together a quality post on his feedback there, and how he regularly pushes players. For what it's worth, the long-time SU coach has no intentions on adjusting this late in the game:
Boeheim on whether his comments on Roberson hurt in recruiting: "I think it's a positive. I'm going to push.''— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
Boeheim also cites how he pushed Rony Seikaly and Kueth Duany. Also Wendell Alexis.— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
Boeheim on Roberson: "He's played well lately; not sure it's because I said anything.''— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
Boeheim: "Pushing players. We all do it. I'm just not afraid to tell you.''— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) March 24, 2016
Never change, Jim...
Hopefully this isn't the last we hear from a positive, pleasant Boeheim this season. Win or lose tonight, the Syracuse coach will be back to greet reporters at Chicago's United Center following the game.