When Syracuse hit the court for its final game of the season on Saturday morning, nobody was tuning in for the team’s performance on the floor. The season essentially ended during the team’s final home game against Virginia before the NCAA ruling was released.
However, with the hammer being dropped on the program on Friday afternoon, the Syracuse/NC State post game was assumed to be must-watch content because coach Jim Boeheim would be facing the media for the first time since the NCAA penalized him.
Instead of hitting the podium and facing the music like a true veteran head coach should, Boeheim instead chose to let his assistant coach Mike Hopkins run the presser. Coach Boeheim said he did this because he wanted the focus of the press conference to be on the players and the game that just occurred, and not what would be disputed and belabored for the coming months.
While Boeheim’s intentions certainly were good, it was foolish for him to think that Hopkins would not face the same questions that he would have, had Boeheim shown up to the presser. Hopkins was thrown into the fire where reporters asked him questions about the sanctions and the future scholarship reductions. Instead of having the coach that caused the problems there to answer the questions, Hop had to turn reporters’ questions down that really didn’t even have to do with him or any of his actions. He handled the questions in the same way Boeheim said he would have: simply refusing to comment.
Even without Boeheim there, the media had no interest in asking about Wooden Award finalist Rakeem Christmas or any of the other players that were on the court for the final game of the season. The media cared about the NCAA sanctions and were going to ask questions to anyone they could about the story that shocked the college basketball world two days ago.
Hopkins may have gotten his first taste as a head coach at the podium, and he will certainly get a bigger taste of this next season when he coaches the team for its first nine conference games (barring the NCAA lessening the punishments).
Ultimately, it was a huge mistake for SU’s head coach to leave Hopkins to face the wolves yesterday afternoon, especially because he knew that all questions would be directed towards the hammer that was dropped by the NCAA.
Posted: Jason Weingold