How the Night of 900 Perfectly Captured Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse HOF Career

His resume and post game comments said it all about The Per’fesser.

There are two dynamics of last night’s milestone 900th victory by Jim Boeheim that perfectly capture his career.

First, if Keith Smart’s baseline jumper rattles out, at this temporary historical intersection The Per’fesser and The General would have the same exact resumes. 901 wins apiece. Two national championships.

Second, Boeheim used his post game platform to stump for gun control. Which was was just another example of him choosing purpose over popularity.

On the topic of his resume, Boeheim is considered a tier below Bobby Knight, Coach K, Roy Williams, Adolf Rupp, Dean Smith, Jim Calhoun, and John Wooden. Sure, he’s in the basketball Hall of Fame. Everyone knows about his three Final Fours, and one national title. But the SU program, for all of its undeniable success, has often been haunted by tournament voodoo. Knight is viewed as an old school taskmaster, a throwback from a bygone era. He’s the hoops version of Woody Hayes or Bear Bryant, a disciplinarian who had startling success. The last undefeated champion in ’76. Three titles. Four national coach of the year honors.

But imagine the Smart shot missed. What would’ve happened if Boeheim had nabbed that first championship in ’87? Maybe the program expects to cut down the nets every year, instead of becoming a Buffalo Bills of the NCAA tourney. Maybe the ’88, ’89, ’90, and ’91 versions create a mini-dynasty? Maybe by the time Carmelo comes to the Hill, there’s multiple championship banners hanging inside the Dome. And maybe Boeheim is right there on the same mountaintop as the Mount Rushmore names in college hoops history. Ultimately, one jumper may have altered the entire course of events. A Superdome Butterfly Effect. JB doesn’t get the overall respect he deserves because of the lone national title, and ensuing tourney exits.

Meantime, his post game words on gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings shows just another opportunity Boeheim refused to pander to the populace.

“This will probably offend some people. If we in this country as Americans cannot get the people that represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society. I’m a hunter. I’ve hunted. I’m not talking about rifles. That’s fine. If one person in this world; the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing. This is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All of your faults if we don’t get out and do something about this.’’

“I saw one guy, a representative I was very proud of, somebody in his state had just come out and said ‘We need more guns. We don’t need less. We need to give teachers gun so they can shoot people.’ Yeah, that’s really good thinking to do that.

“If we can’t get this thing done, I’m with the mayor of New York City, if we can’t get this thing done, I don’t know what kind of country we have. This is about us. This isn’t about the President or those other people down there (in Washington D.C.). We have to make them understand somehow that this needs to get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now.’’

Whether you agree or disagree with his stance, this perfectly defined who he is. He took a night-long celebration of his career, and dared to challenge the public from his pulpit. How many coaches or players take a moment of adoration, and uses it to store debate? He likely upset a number of hard core Syracuse fans with those comments. But he’s never needed anyone to like him. He’s ignored the media love fest. He’s been a crusty, cranky, defensive, combative man of conviction and beliefs. He hasn’t played the role of cuddly ol’ ball coach. And that has also underscored why Boeheim has achieved what he has.

Last year he lashed out at the accusers of Bernie Fine, and eventually had to apologize. He stood firm on the Fab Melo mess. He’s boxed with the Post-Standard. He’s stuck his chin out and dared anyone to take a swing. That fighter’s mentality has fueled him to four decades as one of the best programs in the nation. Last night said it all about Boeheim and his Syracuse basketball empire. Happy 900, coach.

Posted: D.A.

9 Comments on this Post

  1. Lets face it Jimmy would have an impossible time trying to be the subject of adulation because of his win number when a tragedy of epic proportions is on ever ones minds . His statement was fair and in tune with the evening considering the moment. Kudos

  2. Jim was “bang” on with the assault weapons tirade. This type of weaponry should be illegal to sell and buy, period, unless you’re in the military, police special services, etc. Any criminal using this should face a federal law that exceeds state jurisdiction- automatic life sentence, and if used to kill, capital punishment. The arguments and resistance to enacting and enforcing a law on this matter has to stop, so swift action is needed NOW.

  3. I was hoping this would be avoid on here but it’s spreading all over gun control. JB needs to stick to coaching mainly not flaming out in march or blowing 15 point leads to mid-majors. His statements just showed he had no clue what he was talking about. Sorry ur 2nd amendment rights have nothing to do /w hunting.

    @Chris, Greg- More laws ok great. Now do me a favor google the definition of a criminal. What laws do criminals follow? I’ll wait.

  4. Jameson44

    I googled it and one definition said “person who commits crimes for a living”. Those people obviously don’t follow any laws. Problem is all this mass murders aren’t commited by criminals they are commited by deranged individuls who shouldn’t have access to guns in the first place. Hence the need for some kind of gun law reform. Carlton, I love how you think your smarter than the average bear but reality is you just don’t have a fucking clue.

  5. @jameson44,

    If you kill someone you committed a crime. Thus your a criminal. No way around that my friend. I don’t think anyone that commits a murder is in any kind of sound state of mind. Do you have any idea what the gun laws even currently are? I doubt it. Bad stuff will happen. Making laws only hurts the people that are law abiding. Norway has some of the toughest gun laws in the world didn’t stop a guy from committing a mass murder last yr.

    Everyone wants to blame guns its the easy thing to do. No one dares to question the lack of funding and support for families that have kids /w mental health issues.

    So maybe I’m not smarter then the average bear but i sure as hell don’t have my head firmly buried in my ass like you jameson.

  6. Jameson44

    Carlton your view on the matter is obtuse. You offer no alternative you just say JB is clueless and should stick to coaching and that bad stuff will happen if there is some kind of reform…. Bad stuff is already happening and JB has a platform an opinion and influence to try a facilitate change. What should we do stand by and let the problem fix itself? I don’t have the answers and niether do you but if one of us has our heads up our ass its you because it’s pretty obvious based on recent events something needs to be done.

  7. @Jameson,

    I offer no alternative? I told you everyone is ranting about gun violence and different media violence and it all comes back to one thing peoples mental health. That needs to be the focus. Getting support for family’s and getting treatment these kids need. Creating more laws wont solve the problem.

    My problem /w what JB said was he equated hunting to the 2nd amendment. I’ll say it again the 2nd amendment has nothing to do /w ur right to shoot a deer.

    You are right I do not have all the answers but do know this that the last assault weapons ban went into effect in 1994 and lasted till 2004. Columbine school shooting happened in 1999.

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