Syracuse, N.Y. - As the 2018-2019 Syracuse Orange basketball season unofficially got underway on Friday, Jim Boeheim came to the podium at the Carmelo K. Anthony Center and greeted the local media and spoke for almost 20 minutes. Shortly thereafter, players were greeted by the media to discuss a wide array of topics in what will assuredly be the lightest atmosphere all year.
Expectations have risen for Syracuse this season as every starter is back from last year’s Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament and reinforcements have made their way into the fold in the form of Elijah Hughes, Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim and Robert Braswell. Howard Washington and Bourama Sidibe are still working on returning to full strength — as is senior point guard Frank Howard — but the Orange have 11 players who are capable of playing.
As for the players themselves, they’re aware of the heightened expectations and internally or externally, nobody has set a higher standard than the one they’ve set for themselves. The players aren’t shying away from stating that this year the goal is to win a National Championship.
“The team goal is just to win a national championship. That’s the main goal and that’s all I want,” returning junior Tyus Battle said.
Battle of course tested the NBA waters this offseason and decided to return for myriad reasons, chief among them he said was to win a title.
Perhaps sharing backcourt minutes with Battle at times this season will be the aforementioned Washington, who is still recovering from a torn ACL and partially torn MCL. He too noted that he’s hopeful to win it all.
“As a point guard my job is to get my guys involved and win. So our goal is to win, get as far as we can, hopefully national championship,” Howard Washington said of what he’s trying to accomplish this season.
The two big men who will look to anchor the 2-3 zone this season shared the same sentiment. Asked what the team goal is for this season, Paschal Chukwu said, “Go undefeated and win it all.” His reserve in the center spot backed him up.
“The team goal is to win everything,” Sidibe said.
Of course, not new to the program but technically new to the team is Syracuse native Buddy Boeheim. He is, as we all know it, son of Jim Boeheim and has been alive for three of Syracuse’s Final Four runs. He’s looking to add to that list.
“Personally I just want to be the best player I can be. If I’m not shooting well I want to make plays on the defensive end, make plays for my team and be the best player for the team to win,” Buddy said. “I want to make it to the Final Four this year, I think this team has a chance for that, it’s a special group of guys.”
Whether it’s realistic or not, this team has its sights set on getting back to the Final Four and bringing another title back to Syracuse. It’s a long road ahead and the season is just beginning, but if it ends the way the guys on the team hope, Syracuse will have its second National Championship trophy in the hallway of the Carmelo K. Anthony center.