Syracuse Orange men’s basketball is gearing up and that means Jim Boeheim is hitting the media circuit.
On Tuesday Jon Rothstein took a break from texting coaches and telling people he only sleeps in May to visit Syracuse practice and talk to Boeheim about the 22-23 roster. Yesterday we got the ACC Basketball Tip-Off and that means we get to start a new season of Heim-perbole where Jim makes slightly hot takes while leaving enough wiggle room to tell you that you’re the idiot for not understanding what he meant. Let’s get to it...and we’ll start what he told Rothstein
“We’re going to be in the NCAA Tournament,” Boeheim — who is about to begin his 47th season as the Orange’s head coach — said after Tuesday’s practice in Syracuse. “This is the best team we’ve had in a while.”
First part certainly makes sense. Even after his first sub-.500 season, Boeheim is right to believe that this team is set to run through an easier non-conference schedule than last year and be in position to get enough wins to earn an at-large bid. The last part “best team in a while” is pretty vague and open for interpretation- is it going to be poised for a better regular season or a deeper run in March...we’ll find out.
Now let’s look at some of the comments about the players.
Boeheim said he expects Girard to average “at least 20 points” this season
We expect Joe to be more focused on scoring as he finally moves to his more-natural spot at shooting guard. We expect he’ll get more shot opportunities in this role, but if this happens then Joe Girard III will be the 15th player in Syracuse history to accomplish the feat. Thanks to OrangeRay you can see that this is probably not a number to throw around lightly.
How about his backcourt mate Judah Mintz? What does Jim think?
“He’s as explosive a point guard as we’ve had here in a long time......He’s like Johnny Flynn, but he’s much bigger. I think he can get 14-15 points every game and he could get 25 some nights.”
We’ve heard good things about Mintz’s ability to get into the lane and score the ball. Flynn averaged 15.7 points and 5.3 assists in his freshman season and we could certainly see Mintz doing so...although if he’s getting 25 on some nights, will Boeheim be patient on those single-digit scoring nights....
Or will the depth on the roster allow him to sit Mintz on those tough nights and go with Symir Torrence or the other freshman point Quadir Copeland who reminds Boeheim of a key reserve from the 2003 title team.
“He gives us a different dimension,” Boeheim said of Copeland. “He’s more like a Josh Pace type except he’s a righty.”
Bench options are good and Boeheim did say he’d play 9-10 players (note he didn’t say how many games he’d do that). One other player got some specific targets and that’s sophomore Benny Williams
“He has to get 10-11 points and six rebounds for us,” Boeheim said of Williams
I don’t think any Orange fans would complain about those numbers at all. Williams will need to be improved but he’s not going to have to carry the offense.
When he got to Charlotte, Boeheim moved away from specific player stats into an overall impression of what makes this group different from the outside shooting team of 21-22.
“In some ways, we don’t shoot as well, but we’re better offensively than we were last year,’’ he said. “We have guys that can drive (and) penetrate and get fouled. We didn’t get fouled (last year). So we’re not going to shoot as well, but we’re going to score as much.’’
This roster should be able to help Syracuse generate offense from their defense and perhaps not be so reliant on making shots to win games. Maybe some of that Mob Mentality can carry over from the football defense.
We didn’t get any thoughts from Jim about not having to go to Greensboro until March but we’d believe there’s no hyperbole needed from him to describe his happiness at avoiding North Carolina until the ACC Tournament.