Welcome to the first installment of Szuba’s Mentions! (also known as the most ostentatious thing I’ve ever done.) Every week or so, I’ll compile questions on Syracuse Orange men’s basketball from twitter and answer them in a post here at Nunes.
After initiating the series last week, a few of you reached out with various questions —some serious, some jokes and garbage filled — so let’s dive into that.
First, a big thanks to Dave for starting this off with a pair of difficult questions that are sure to land me in some hot water. Much appreciated.
The first question is a popular one amongst Syracuse fans for obvious reasons, but I do think there’s a scenario where Mike Hopkins comes back to coach Syracuse basketball. All the reasons that Hop has given publicly to take the Washington job make total sense. He said if he took over at Syracuse he’d be protecting a legacy, not building his own. He spent time in Seattle as a kid. And he wanted his father to have the chance to see him coach.
But I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Hop comes back to coach Syracuse, either. The circumstances have changed. He’s already proven he can have success as a head coach at the D1 and P5 level away from SU and, in a way, he’s already creating his own legacy.
Jim Boeheim will be one tough act to follow and the coach(es) at Syracuse after him will assuredly fall short of his legacy. Replacing a Hall-of-Fame career in the sport of college basketball has always been tricky (see: UCLA, Indiana, UConn, etc.) to say the minimum. But if there’s any coach built to tackle that arduous challenge at Syracuse, it’s Hop. I don’t think it’d be an easy decision for he and his family and I’m sure it wouldn’t be one that he’d take lightly, but I’ve heard his family misses Syracuse — they did spent a significant portion of their lives in central New York. You never know how things can change in the future.
As for the second question, I don’t assume that Boeheim is just going to walk away once Buddy graduates. I’ve said that for a while and will maintain that. Boeheim doesn’t seem the type to walk away from something he poured his life into on his own volition. But as far as who replaces him when that eventually does happen? I think the most likely candidate is Adrian Autry. Syracuse should definitely open up the search to see who’s interested in the head coaching job, but ultimately I think SU would like to keep this thing in the Syracuse family.
I will say that when it comes to following these kinds of legacies though, you almost never want to be the first guy. It’s almost better to replace the first guy who “fails” at replacing the Hall-of-Famer.
@JamesSzuba is it possible that Syracuse still gets Precious Achiuwa— Austin Alberici (@AlbericiAustin) May 7, 2019
Precious Achiuwa is a 6-foot-9 center and the No. 14 ranked recruit in the 2019 class. Syracuse once offered him, but it’s highly unlikely he ends up in central New York next season.
Memphis is the favorite to land Achiuwa’s services (he just visited last week) and at the rate Penny Hardaway’s staff is recruiting, it’s easy to understand why. The Tigers have the No. 5 recruiting class in the country with James Wiseman, DJ Jeffries, Lester Quinones, Malcolm Dandridge and Damion Baugh. There’s a ton of excitement brewing in Memphis.
Syracuse will also have three centers on its roster in 2019-20 in Bourama Sidibe, John Bol Ajak and Jesse Edwards. Plus, Marek Dolezaj could also be used at center as he did this past season. But word on the street is that Edwards can hoop and will earn minutes right away. Speaking of...
Maybe more like Edwin van der Saar. Nothing got by that guy and he was a winner.
But why stick with soccer when Edwards could become like Eddie Van Halen?
If you have a Syracuse basketball or #jokesandgarbage question for next week’s post, drop me a line on twitter @JamesSzuba. Tweets are better because I can just copy the tweet and embed them into the article.
There’s a lot going on this offseason between Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett currently competing at the G-League Camp, the return of TBT and eventually the preseason Italy tour. But for those who don’t operate on the twitter-sphere, hit me on email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers.