Coming out of high school, Buddy Boeheim only received five scholarship offers. Three of them came from extremely low-level schools in Binghamton, Iona and Massachusetts. The other two were Gonzaga, who is the current number one team in the country, and Syracuse. Boeheim decided to team up with his dad and the rest has been history.
That history includes a freshman year where he averaged only seven points and 17 minutes per game. It also includes an underachieving start to his sophomore season. In the first eight games, Boeheim averaged a mere 13 points on 35% shooting. He didn’t seem like anything special. At the beginning of this year, Boeheim looked like the same player as his freshman year. He was a spot-up shooter that could get hot once in a while, but not consistently.
It wasn’t until the Georgia Tech game on December 7 that we saw the new Buddy Boeheim. In that game against the Yellow Jackets, Boeheim poured in a career high 26 points. Since then, he has scored in double-figures every game out. Most recently, Boeheim tied his career high with another 26-point performance against Virginia Tech. 18 of those points came in the first half, too.
The best part of Boeheim’s play this year is the addition of being able to dribble and finish inside. Last season and earlier this year, it was difficult to trust Boeheim when he put the ball on the floor. He never had a good handle, especially in traffic. Now, however, the sophomore is bobbing and weaving through defenses, crossing opponents up and finishing in the paint or pulling up in the mid-range.
This new piece to his offensive arsenal has made Boeheim a true threat wherever he is on the court. Before, defenses just had to make sure they defended the three-point line, but now they can’t be caught flat footed because he will blow by them.
With his consistency and improvements, Boeheim has played his way into the ACC Player of the Year conversation. Yeah, yeah, it may be crazy to hear and crazy to think about, but it’s true. Boeheim is fifth in the conference in points per game, tenth in three point percentage and first in three pointers made. He is also averaging three assists and one steal per game. Boeheim is doing it on both ends of the court.
Especially considering how good Boeheim has been recently, he deserves to be in the conversation for player of the year. If he can continue to play this great, his numbers will only go up and the argument for him will only get stronger.
Now being realistic, will he be the ACC Player of the Year? Probably not. Louisville’s Jordan Nwora, Syracuse’s Elijah Hughes and Duke’s Vernon Carey are the top three choices right now. But, that doesn’t mean Boeheim shouldn’t be considered. Boeheim’s growth and current production is impressive and people need to start realizing how great he is. He is not just the coach’s son anymore. Put some respect on Buddy Boeheim’s name and put him in the conversation for ACC Player of the Year.