So why would Jim Boeheim, always the smartest guy in the room, go public that Carmelo Anthony pulled 4 C’s and a D in his fall semester on campus? I’ll chalk it up to Jim not realizing few people see the world as he does.
From friends who have known him since he was a student, to those close to him four decades later, everyone seems to agree Boeheim is hyper-intelligent – and likes to flex that muscle. He suffers few fools, and is happy to make mincemeat of stupid questions and stupider media members.
He is willing to take on the tallest, strongest kid on the block with his sharp mind and sharper tongue. An intellectual bully, you might say. So what benefit does it do Melo or Syracuse to essentially brag that the most popular player in program history was a below average student?
It’s because Boeheim didn’t realize few people see the world as he does. He even admitted to the Wall Street Journal that he needed to clear up his reasoning with Melo.
“The point I was trying to make, and maybe did not succeed in, was that I was impressed with how he did as a first-semester freshman. We had talked about this before, but I’ll call him again to explain what I was getting at. I wanted to try to make clear that he did do his work, and that he was engaged as a college student.”
In his book “Bleeding Orange,” Boeheim wrote: “[A]nd if anyone wants to roll his eyes at (those grades), plenty of freshmen who aren’t carrying a basketball team on their back do a lot worse.”
Knowing Boeheim’s affinity for Melo, along with the hefty donation Anthony made to the hoops facility with his name on it, it’s impossible to think The Per’fesser wanted to paint him as lazy or unintelligent.
My guess is Boeheim has seen his own players, ones with far less pro potential or pressure to carry the team, put in even less school work than Melo did. You could just see Boeheim rolling his eyes as one of his 7 minutes-per-game big men pulled straight D’s and F’s. Or hearing that another top player in the Big East slept through 108 straight classes.
In Boeheim’s mind, a 1.8 GPA is actually REALLY IMPRESSIVE. Boeheim has seen worse. He has lived through worse. He knows Melo has seen worse. He knows Melo could’ve packed it in even more. Boeheim didn’t realize the world sees those grades and it reinforces the stupid athlete stereotype. If the world saw it through his lens, a lens he knows is sharper than everyone else, you’d realize it doesn’t mean Carmelo slacked off or is a dunce. It’s that really good basketball players usually don’t even do that much.