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Source Tells Fizz: Boeheim Playing Hardball with “Coddled” Dion Waiters

“The message could be if you stay, it’s my way. If you want to leave, toodles.”

Dennis Nett/ Post-Standard

Jim Boeheim’s curious comments about Dion Waiters’ potential dismissal from Syracuse raises a boatload of intriguing questions. Is it shortsighted to push away a player who has a huge upside and performed extremely well in the NCAA tournament? Did Dion write his own death certificate by being openly hostile with his coach during games? At the moment, though, those end up being ripple concerns – extending out from where the rock hit the water. At the point of “kerplunk,” the primary question is why does Jim Boeheim want Waiters off the team?

Scholarships are renewed annually, so every player is at risk of being sent home after the end of the school year. But a source close to the situation tells The Fizz Waiters attitude combined with Boeheim’s age may be a losing equation.

“The older Boeheim gets, the less tolerant he is of (problem children). It’s why he didn’t take Selby. He also may be trying to humble DW, who probably fancies himself a ‘2-and-done.’ The message could be if you stay, it’s my way. If you want to leave, toodles.”

There is no doubt, Waiters is an extraordinarily talented player who can do a little bit of everything. In the most important game of the year he shined brightest, with a game-high 18 points on a very efficient 8-of-10 shooting, in only 23 minutes of work against Marquette in the 2nd round of the tourney.

But Dion’s demeanor has always been a weakness. He has a reputation for clashing with coaching, eschewing team concepts, and ignoring the classroom. In fact, one source tells The Fizz, “DW is… a classic coddled, multi-high school AAU prodigy, who always bailed at the first sign of adversity.”

Can Boeheim be salty with his players? Sure. But as a freshman, at the end of a pitiful home blowout loss to a bottom-tier Big East team, telling your Hall of Fame coach to “f*** off” is a ridiculous display of dissidence.

Would it be better for everyone if Boeheim and Waiters coexisted peacefully? Undoubtedly. A disciplined and motivated Dion adds depth and play-making to a potential preseason top-5 team. But The Per’fesser likely sees an opportunity (maybe one of his last) at a deep March run with next year’s squad and refuses to poison it with a hard-headed sophomore who’s a headache on and off the floor.

It doesn’t hurt that incoming Michael Carter-Williams is expected to contribute immediately in the backcourt and has a reputation as a smart, dedicated, mature kid. Maybe by Boeheim’s calculation, subtracting Dion means a better locker room and adding MCW equals little talent drop-off.

Why would Boeheim run-off Waiters? Probably because he’s in the twilight of his career and has little patience for unnecessary headaches, especially ones who threaten to derail a potentially terrific team.

Posted: D.A.

15 Comments on this Post

  1. cap2nine

    Both Waiters and Boeheim need to find some common ground and build on it. If JB is doing this to avoid headaches in the twilight of his career, that’s a load of crap. Players need to respect their coaches and academic responsibilities but these kids also need support and guidance. Perhaps some need a little more attention than others. The bottom line is that SU is a better team with Waiters on it. And, if either of these two knuckleheads lets their ego get in the way then nobody wins.

  2. Dion needs to get his #$%^ together. Look at the above pic! He could care less what coach is saying. Um…dumbass….a HOF coach is trying to teach you something. If you were all that you’d already be in the NBA. Check the attitude at the door and start being a team player.

  3. Hey Fizz… everyone is sick and tired of your BS sources.

  4. the question no one is asking is if boeheim does push dion out the door how does that affect scoop and kris and rakeem who are all close with dion? how will the veterans react to mcw if gets the pt that should have been dion’s? it’s one thing if mcw comes in and whoops dion in practice and gets the minutes, it’s another entirely if he hasn’t practiced at all and gets the pt!

  5. JB doesn’t have any illusions about a ‘deep run’ in the tourney.
    His weak coaching in the tourney is painfully obvious. By a fluke he got his one NC and there won’t be any more.
    Now it’s get the 25 wins and go play golf. He got his plaque and there is no more incentive.

  6. orangeskin

    JB is overrating MCW. He has shot poorly from the perimeter in the All Star games where they don’t even play defense. It’s going to be brick city next year in the Big East if he really expects MCW to soak up Dion’s minutes. Dion can shoot, and that was a problem on last year’s SU team. He can also create his own shot, which is something Trevor Cooney showed problems with at the Capital Classic. One can only assume that that problem will be magnified in the Big East. JB needs to get over himself and accept the fact that today’s players all have knucklehead tendencies. Scoop got arrested his freshman year, Jonny and Donte were lucky not to be indicted for sexual assault their freshman year and none of them were chased away. He put up with Eric Devendorf, an on and off court embarrassment, for four years. Look at how many coaches with whom Melo has clashed, including his current coach, Mike D’Antoni. The problem is that once JB decides he doesn’t like a player, it’s hard for the player to “coexist” with JB. I know from reporters at the DO that when Billy Edelin was trying to stick with the team in 2005, GMac and Hakim Warrick went to JB repeatedly to try to get him to back off of Billy and let him back on the team. Ultimately, JB refused, and neither Gmac nor Hak were very happy about it. The reporters also said that it fueled problems within the team that contributed, in part, to the first round flame-out in Worcester against Vermont. Interestingly, after that year’s tournament, the NCAA started buying and installing hardwood floors at all sub-regional sites (as well as the regional and final four sites) probably due in part to the obvious problems with the floor in Worcester. Hopefully Gerry and Coach Hopkins can mediate some nature of co-existence between Dion and JB, but this is not a total shock. Dion bounced around in HS and had problems with his coaches and teammates. I knew that and I wasn’t the coach of SU’s team. JB recruited the guy, knew his history as an HS player, and unlike Tiki Mayben, did not rescind the scholarship. So, Dion needs to take care of business in the classroom and do what he has to with JB. JB, for his part, should keep these disputes in house and not run his mouth in a public gathering with reporters present. It amazes me sometimes how media savvy JB isn’t. First, he gets mad at the P-S for reporting his 7 game losing streak against Pitino, which is an absolute fact that should be reported, and then he drops this bombshell. Maybe Coach Hopkins should be taking over sooner rather than later. I appreciate everything JB has done for SU, but I feel like he has lost some of his drive since 2003.

  7. Great feedback and thoughts from everyone. I’ve definitely heard DW can be a headache more than we even know – but I wonder about JB’s tact sometimes. Is it smart to call into question a players future and then almost retract it the next day? (see Poloquin’s piece) Just seems like a waste of time.

  8. By fluke JB got his one NC? That’s absolutely ridiculous to the poster above. We had Carmelo and a great team. That was no fluke.

  9. Carlton

    orangeskin- I liked most of what you said but MCW is a better shooter then dion. I’m guessing you got to watch him play in MJ classic and micky d’s game and your right he didnt shoot well but he also might have had a total of ten shoots in both games combined. Dion played in the MJ classic last yr and he didnt shoot that well ethier and i think he even shot a couple air balls from 3. I got to see MCW last summer go 1on1 with rivers in the peach jam and he held his own and his team beat rivers team.

  10. Boeheim uses street agent to collect this type of kid. Maybe he should try recruiting some kids who actually want to go to college.
    Syracuse is just a busstop for these kids on the way to the NBA.
    30% graduation rate!

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