Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins was the head coach for 9 games. And that is about the only true read you can get on the tenure of Mike Hopkins. Yes, he was the head coach, but it was in name only. Everyone knew that Jim Boeheim was coming back, and Hop had to be able to go back to player-friendly assistant when Boeheim was back on the bench. He couldn’t totally change his personality the way he may be able to when he takes over the big chair for good.
On top of that, Hop had to stick to the plan. This wasn’t his coaching, it was him coaching as if Boeheim were still running the show. Hop must have always been thinking, WWJBD—What Would Jim Boeheim Do? He even said as much in his press conferences when he mentioned not wanting to get the car to messed up before giving it back to dad. The team was on loan from Boeheim for a month, very different from when he takes over.
Of course the gut reaction would be to say that Hopkins failed, but look closer. Would Syracuse have won any of those games if Boeheim were on the bench?
Georgetown—SU was brutally outworked on the boards.
St. John’s—The Red Storm shot the lights out from “Steph Curry range” Hopkins said after the game.
Pittsburgh—At the end of the game, Pitt got red hot as the Orange went ice cold.
Miami—The Hurricanes are flat out better than the Orange.
Clemson—A Malachi Richardson free throw made and we aren’t talking about this.
So what exactly is Jim Boeheim doing that is going to greatly change the outcome of any of those games? If there is something there, I’m all for it. And maybe I am oversimplifying those losses, but to me it didn’t seem like Hopkins’ coaching was the major difference in the losses.
Have your opinion about Hopkins, because that is what is supposed to happen. But don’t be closed minded when Hopkins takes over in the next few years. It is going to be a very different situation than it was for the last month. Hopkins will have more free reign to do what he wants to do around the program rather than hoping not to crash the car before having to give it back to dad.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg