Buddy Boeheim caught the eyes of America in the NCAA Tournament this past season, dragging Syracuse into the Sweet 16. The coach’s son was shooting the lights out the entire month of March. In March, Boeheim averaged 24 points on 63% field goal shooting and 44% 3-point shooting. #35 was on another planet. He wasn’t that way all season, however. There were times throughout the year that Boeheim showed signs of regression and was a genuine detriment on the court.
In the thick of conference play, Buddy didn’t show up. From January 23rd to February 13th he wasn’t himself. In that time, Syracuse faced off against 6 conference opponents. All Boeheim provided were 11.7 points per game, 2.5 assists per game, 1.8 rebounds per game, all while shooting poorly from the floor (36%) and from distance (35%). So what happened, why was he so bad, and why was he able to turn it on?
This comes back to SU’s COVID pause that occurred in December-January of last season. At the time we weren’t aware who on the team tested positive for COVID if any. We didn’t know what it would mean for their performance going forward or anything. On January 20th, following a blowout win over Miami, Coach Boeheim confirmed that both Joe Girard and his son had tested positive.
That made things make a little more sense. Girard was having a subpar year, that wasn’t expected, but wasn’t a huge surprise. Buddy though? He was supposed to be reliable, supposed to be a go-to scorer, and he just wasn’t that. A battle with the disease plaguing the planet couldn’t have helped his basketball skills.
Hopefully, with most of COVID-related issues behind us come next season, we’ll see Buddy play a full year unhindered by disease, in which he should be very good. During March Madness all we heard about in press conferences was how much of a hard worker this kid is. If that’s true, he’ll come out firing like March never ended.