The "No Huddle Tour" made its stop in Binghamton yesterday at the B-Mets game. Before Floyd Little, Dino Babers and Jim Boeheim each threw out the first pitch, the coaches answered some questions from the local media.
Boeheim took to the mic first. He answered questions about the tour and what he thought about the season that his team had.
On what it means to go on this tour:
"It's good to go out. We've been to Buffalo, Rochester, come down here today. I think it's a good thing. We've got a lot of season ticket holders in Binghamton, this area, so it's good to get down here and have the opportunity to watch a little baseball, too."
On giving back to the fans:
"It's good. Our fans are so good wherever we play, it's amazing. Even down in North Carolina, Florida, we go down there and we have a ton of Syracuse fans. Like I said, great fans, great support almost wherever we play -- Chicago there are a ton of Syracuse people there. You've gotta have great fans, I think it's one of the things that separates the really good basketball programs is that they have fans that will follow them and support them no matter where and obviously to put 25,000 people in the Dome takes a lot of fans to do that."
On the year the men's team had:
"It was such a great year, obviously a difficult year -- an up-and-down year -- but the players kept playin', battlin', win or lose they just kept coming out the next game with the kind of attitude you have to have. When you get in tournament play it's just a matter of- we didn't play that much better in the tournament than we played all year, but we just made key plays in the close games to get to the Final Four. We made some real key plays at the end of the game. That's what separates a Final Four team from a team that just gets to the Sweet Sixteen. I think when the tournament started we would've been happy to get to the Sweet Sixteen, win a game or two, win two games, but this team just kept playing and they weren't satisfied with (winning two games). It's a good lesson that you're never in a situation that you can't be successful and if you do the right things, things go your way and you make plays. This team made plays down the stretch and two tough games against two really good teams and that's not that easy to do."
On how hungry his players are to get out there and do it again:
"We've been twice to the Final Four in the last four years, so we enjoy that experience. I think our young players learned a lot, I think we've got a couple guys coming in who are great players, we had a big kid sitting out this year who's 7'2" and I think a tremendous prospect. I think all of our returning players learned a lot and I think we've got some key guys coming in that'll help us, so we'll have a very good basketball team next year I think."
On filling the remaining scholarship spots:
"I don't think we'll get 11 (total). Recruiting is never over -- there's always recruiting going on -- and now with many more fifth-year transfers that, even now, are just finishing up school, they want to transfer -- there's always the possibility to pick somebody up. We had seven guys this year and we did okay and next year we'll have eight, so we'll see what happens."
On throwing out the first pitch before the B-Mets game:
"I hope I can get it (to the plate). It'll be close. I probably won't get it over the plate, but I'll get it close. (Laughs) I'll let Dino throw it."
It was then time for Coach Babers to take over. He discussed the tour, what he's heard about the Dome renovations and what he's learned about his team after being brought in in December.
On the tour and coming to Binghamton:
"It's super being here in Binghamton. I'm out here in these baseball parks, something that I've always loved is baseball, but my dad wouldn't let me play it he wanted me to be a football son.I've always enjoyed baseball, I was always a big San Diego Padres fan and I used to sit in the 'cheap seats' in right field -- what they used to call McCovey Cove -- and watch all those baseball teams roll in there. The tour's been fantastic. Buffalo, Rochester, and now here and I'm looking forward to really uniting the state and getting more season ticket holders and Orange fans not only in football and basketball but all the sports."
On meeting local fans:
"It's been outstanding. We have some fantastic fans and with the success that we've had this year with the men's basketball team going to the Final Four, the women's team in the Final Four, both men's and women's lacrosse doing outstanding, cross country, all the teams -- I'm gonna miss some because there's been so many (successful teams). We just gotta make sure that the football team starts to do their part and we can have a little more to cheer about for football."
"I think that any time you can reach out to people and let them know how serious you are about having them see you in your house, the Carrier Dome, I think it's gonna always be a positive situation."
On the renovations:
"I hear they're going to do all kinds of new stuff. I haven't gotten the plans for it, but light's gonna be coming in and it's gonna be a situation where hopefully with a solid roof up there we'll have some echoing going on at the Carrier Dome to be even louder than it was before, so I'm really looking forward to it."
On taking over the program:
"I think the biggest challenge is that we're moving to a fast pace offensively, defensively and teaching the players who are coming from an option system and a man system, some of the things that we're gonna do is a totally different scheme. We're gonna have some faith, take some time to get the players to adjust to the new style. Outside of that, the biggest issue has been making sure the young men still believe in themselves. You can't play this game, you can't play baseball without believing in yourself and having confidence, and my main thing is to make sure that we instill that confidence so we can go out there and put our best foot forward."
On throwing out the first pitch:
"I'm like Tom Cruise in 'Top Gun,' I've only done this one time before and I crashed and burned, so I have no idea what it's gonna look like. I'm excited about being here, but I'm a little intimidated about that first pitch. I hope there's no mascots walking around, it could be a Bull Durham situation, I'm not quite sure. We're gonna have to wait and see."
On the re-naming of the B-Mets:
"I haven't heard the options, but I'm sure whatever you guys choose will be fantastic (laughs)."
Oh, Dino, you really don't want to know...
Floyd Little's first pitch was definitely the best of the three: