Syracuse Orange men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim joined former NFL player Greg Olsen on the May 11th edition of the Youth Inc podcast, The pair discussed what it was like for Boeheim to coach his two sons Jimmy and Buddy last year, along with how his sons dealt with external pressure growing up.
Boeheim said last season was the best year he’s ever had coaching due to his sons both playing for the Orange. However, he didn’t always think a future in Division 1 was the path for his sons.
“They had private workouts and weight training but I didn’t think they would be Division 1 players,” Boeheim said. “My daughter did the same thing and she became a good high school player and won three state championships, which have never been done here, and played in a division 2 school at Rochester for a year. But the boys always wanted to be players and kept working at it. They were not recruited in high school, struggled a little bit in AAU, and yet they just kept working. Just because you’re not quite there as a high school senior doesn’t mean you can’t get there.”
Regardless of the doubt he once had, Boeheim is nothing but proud of the work and discipline his sons applied to their craft to get to the D1 level.
Boeheim also touched on what it was like for his children to grow up behind his shadow, having to deal with the external pressures associated with having an all-time great college basketball coach as their dad. Regardless of the noise the boys heard, they always pushed forward.
“I think they felt it, I mean they heard it on the road. Jimmy was at Cornell and went to Connecticut and they were just killing him down there. He heard it Buddy heard it, but they just kept going and kept their heads down......I am just proud that my sons were able to play through all that, I didn’t think Division 1 or high Division 1, but they proved me wrong and just kept working at it. ”
In terms of how the 40-year veteran coach is dealing with the newer changes to the NCAA structure such as the transfer portal, Boeheim sees the value of the portal for college athletes.
“I've had transfers from even the beginning, if guys weren't playing I don't mind that they want to transfer. For example, Michael Carter-Williams was not playing as a freshman but he knew his sophomore year he was going to start. Even though he was unhappy and his mother was unhappy, they saw the light and he had a great sophomore year and got drafted top ten in the NBA so that worked.”
When it comes to NIL though, Boeheim sees more reason to be concerned about the future of the game.
“I’m more worried about NIL for the future of the game. these collectives are going to get together, there's going to be a pot of money in there, and it's going to be handed out. So you're going to know if you go to this school this right tackle got this amount of money, and it's big. I'm not that naive. We got a recruiting class this year that was pretty good, 15-100 guys, top 15 we didn't even talk about NIL. But in the future, that's what you're going to have to talk about. I'm worried about it and I don't think it's good for the game.”
Do you think the Hall of Fame head coach is right to be concerned about NIL and the impact on college athletics?