Jim Boeheim is old.
Not in a bad way, but in the wise grandfather way of things. Gone are the days of scary plaid suits. So too are the thick framed glasses, replaced by cool shades that only Juli could have picked out at Pearle Vision.
And fading fast is the recruiting stigma that his stars don’t pan out in the NBA.
This was microcosm”ed” with Derrick Coleman, who of course was “a huge bust” as a number one pick in 1990. But was he really?
Check out Coleman’s NBA stats and then compare them with his college numbers.
In the NBA: 16.5 pts, 9.3 rebs, 45% FGs, 33.2 min/gm.
While with Boeheim: 15.0 pts, 10.3 rebs, 57% FGs, 32.8 mins/gm.
What people expect out of star NBA players after college is an improvement in stats based on two different factors: an increase in minutes played, and a less structured, more individualized offensive system.
So a program like Duke’s is one that gives a player their statistical growth: Coach K has his McDonald’s All Americans buy into his system and works a lot of guys into the rotation.
We have found out in the 21st century that this is clearly not Jim Boeheim.
Defense aside, Boeheim runs a very pro-oriented system, which puts a lot of stress on the best players on the team. If you’re good, you play and play a lot, and you have the ball in your hands plenty. Examples of this include ‘Melo, who averaged 36+ minutes a game, Donte Greene, who was given more shots then most freshman in the country in ’07-08 and Jonny Flynn, who got similar minutes to ‘Melo.
This was a different notion before the age of “leaving early.” Guys grew up in systems and weren’t necessarily exposed as go-to players. Boeheim’s relative free-wheeling offense bucked the trend.
But this system affords you a better look at how said person will fare as a go-to guy on a professional team. Coleman averaged 15 and 10 – he did about the same in the NBA. Carmelo carried a team and was a scoring machine: he does the same thing in Denver now.
Greene couldn’t carry a team in college and struggled shooting the ball. With Sacramento, he couldn’t even stay on the team his entire rookie season.
Flynn showed the ability to do so as the lead guy for the Orange, and his advancement in the NBA, assuming history repeats itself, should follow that same pattern.
So people wonder why guys like Fab Melo, Dion Waiters and C.J. Fair choose to come to the Hill for an older coach, who already has a designate to the throne, for a city that makes them dig through snow to get to the sidewalk and has not made it past the sweet sixteen since ’03.
The fact is, Syracuse has become a proving ground for NBA talent. If you can lead the ‘Cuse to the land of Big Monday and national columnists, you might just make it in the ‘Cuse. Melo, Waiters and the 2011 National Champs have accepted this.
Turns out the old guy had the new-school plan all along.