As real and weird as it may or may not feel, now it’s official. On Friday morning, the torch was officially passed from Jim Boeheim to Adrian Autry.
A very large media contingent was present for probably the biggest moment in SU Athletics since the national championship 20 years ago. Dino Babers, women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack, and men’s lacrosse coach Gary Gait were all in attendance. Assistant coaches Gerry McNamara and Allen Griffin had seats near the front, and the vast majority of this year’s team was in attendance (including Judah Mintz, Jesse Edwards, and Joe Girard).
The biggest topic of discussion in the room was Wednesday’s press release and how it was as strangely worded as it could possibly be. The word “retirement” was not included in it, nor was there a statement from Boeheim, just Chancellor Kent Syverud and John Wildhack.
Awkward may have been an understatement to describe Wednesday’s press conference. He teased the media throughout it but never fully admitted to anything. But now, Boeheim finally has what he, fans, and media members alike have been seeking: closure.
Both of those quotes from Boeheim say an awful lot. One, did he just straight-up admit he lost his touch? Since the announcement, many have reminisced on the CJ Fair charge call at Duke nine years ago and how that was an awesome display of his competitive fire. Four games straight where the zone got ripped to shreds has to have been humbling.
Also, how can you not love and appreciate that second quote? In the wake of his stubbornness about the 2-3 zone and lashing out at student journalists this season, his love for Orange fans and the greater Syracuse area has gotten lost in it all. You can’t help but admire that, since Boeheim as good as singlehandedly put Syracuse, New York on the map.
So what about Autry? He talked a lot about versatility and building off what Boeheim started, but one thing in particular stuck out.
Who could that possibly have been directed at? Even if a few guys leave, Autry made it clear that he likes the current core and the flashes it has shown. It makes a lot of sense given his ties to the DMV area. Judah Mintz, Maliq Brown, Justin Taylor, and Benny Williams were all recruited out of there, and all have shown flashes of being able to excel at the D1 level (especially Mintz). Interesting words to say the least.
A lot of emotions have to be running through SU fans’ heads right now, how could they not be? Whether it be happiness, sadness, anger, or a combo of the three or any other feelings you want to throw in there, it’s still a surreal feeling that the era of Syracuse Basketball most of us have known our whole lives is officially over. It’s going to look really weird seeing Boeheim in a suite inside the Dome as opposed to on the sidelines.