The Atlantic Coast Conference chose to suspend Syracuse Orange men’s basketball guard Buddy Boeheim one game following his punch to Florida State’s Wyatt Wilkes. Boeheim will not be available in Syracuse’s ACC Tournament Quarterfinal game against top-seeded Duke.
Boehiem punched Wilkes in the first half of Syracuse’s 96-57 win against Florida State on a play underneath the basket.
Following the game, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said the play was inadvertent.
“The kid pushed him twice. He swung around and hit him. I think it was inadvertent but that’s ok. I just watched the play,” Boeheim said.
The play occurred underneath the basket. Wilkes initiated contact, trying to box out Boeheim and pinch him underneath the basket. Boeheim retaliated with a punch.
“I don’t think he hit him. he just swung around and it was contact,” Jim Boeheim continued. “The kid pushed him twice. You can’t just let people push you around.”
A reporter disagreed with Boehiem’s assessment of the play.
“I just gave you my version of what I saw,” Boeheim said. “Can we disagree? I don’t have to agree with you, right?”
In a prepared remark, Buddy Boeheim said it was wrong to act out in frustration.
“In the heat of today’s game, after some shoving in the lane, I swung my arm while turning to go back up the court. It was wrong to act out in frustration,” The statement read. “I apologized to Wyatt Wilkes multiple times in the handshake line. He said not to worry about it, but I know it was wrong. I pride myself in respecting the game and our opponent. I will not react that way again.”
Following the play, Wilkes returned to his team’s bench. He returned to the contest just before the end of the first half. Boeheim finished out the game without being assessed a foul, personal or flagrant.
Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton expressed no qualms of the play.
“First let me say this, there’s not a better kid in the ACC than Buddy Boehiem,” Leonard Hamilton said. He’s a class kid, tremendous character. He’s a young man who’s competitive like everyone else. I don’t want anything to take away from how well they played and what type of fine young man he is. The game is physical, you expect guys to go out and bang and be aggressive and if something inadvertently happens sometimes we want to categorize it one way or another.
“I know his family. I know his mother and I know Jim. I know what kind of kid he is. We’re going to move on.”
Syracuse will play top-seeded Duke in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals on Thursday without Boeheim. The Orange have gone 0-2 against the Blue Devils this season, losing by a combined 45 points. The youngest Boeheim expressed the difficulty of beating Duke last Saturday.
“We can’t beat Duke unless we have an out of this world game, honestly. They’re just too good for the zone. They’re one of the best teams in the country,” He said.