As Jim Boeheim begins his 38th season as the Syracuse head coach, the questions swirled once again about the losses the Orange faces. Just plug in new names, this year the team is without Tyler Ennis, Jerami Grant, CJ Fair and Baye Keita. This comes after losing Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche and James Southerland before last season. So again, it looks like Coach Boeheim has his work cut out for him. This year, he seemed to be more relaxed at media day than he was last year, at one point even joking with the media saying, “Buy my book.”
But something he was not joking about was the necessity for the sophomore class to take a big collective step.
“They [the sophomores] are crucial,” Boeheim said. “Last year they didn’t do much, and they didn’t have to. But this year they have to be out there. They are going to play a lot of minutes and they have to be productive.”
As far as freshman Chris McCullough goes, it seemed almost like Boeheim wanted to pump the brakes on the expectations for the 5-star recruit. When speaking to The Fizz, Boeheim made sure to mention that McCullough remains a little thin still and will need to adjust to the college game.
Earlier in the weekend, the Fizz wrote about the expectations place on Michael Gbinije. Boeheim did not shy away from placing heavy expectations on the junior. First, the Per’fessor said last year Gbinije’s versatility was “important, but it is crucial this year.”
Boeheim went on to say they need Gbinije to play like a starter and said he has told Gbinije he is “in the same position as Dion Waiters was in. He is coming off the bench, but he has to be as productive or more productive as the starters. And he needs to do it playing two or three positions.”
When asked about Rakeem Christmas, Boeheim reiterated that he believes Christmas is ready to take the next step and be a star, not just a role player for the Orange.
Overall, Boeheim seemed upbeat about the team coming into the season. He says everyone has made big improvements. The season gets underway with an exhibition against Carlton on Nov.2 in the Dome, a game that Boeheim said in his press conference that he is happy to have on the schedule, noting that Carlton beat Memphis twice this summer.
Posted: Seth Goldberg