Could This Be 2003 All Over Again?

March 24, 2009 – 9:49 am by Jimmy Shapiro

In 2003, the Syracuse Orange were a 3 seed and ended up winning the national championship led by Freshmen Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara.  Not only did it make every Syracuse graduate (myself included) and fan ecstatic, but it also gave Jim Boeheim a grace period where he was free from criticism.  The truth is that all the way back to the late 80′s and early 90′s when I was a student there, people were calling for Boeheim’s dismissal.

Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate him more and the great 2-3 defense his teams often play.  However, not making the tournament in 2007 and 2008 just four and five years removed from a national title is unacceptable.  One year is ok, but not two.  The problem I often have with him is that his teams lack discipline.

This Syracuse team is loaded.  They have good outside shooters, a great point guard, bigs down low, and a sublime athlete in Paul Harris.  They blew out their first two opponents, but they have this nasty habit (see lack of discipline) of keeping teams around longer than need be. They’re a 3 seed just like 2003 and truly can match up with any team in the country.  I’m hopeful it will lead to same results as 2003.

Jim Boeheim joined The Axeman on ESPN Radio Syracuse on Monday  to discuss his team, Blake Griffin, and Johnny Flynn’s future.  Also, make sure you listen for all his strange noises during the interview.  Sniffs, snorts, grunts, and groans.  He’s a beauty.

On stopping Blake Griffin:

“We try to play good team defense and be active and obviously you have to know where their best players are and you have to make it as difficult as you can for their best players.  You can’t let anybody have shots in college because anybody in college at this level at the Sweet 16 can make shots and hurt you.  So you just have to play good team defense and rebound the ball.”

More on Blake Griffin:

“He’s the best rebounder in the country.  He’s averaging over 14 rebounds a game.  Almost nobody averages that many rebounds in the history of college basketball if you look back at it.  A tremendous, tremendous rebounder.  He can shoot the ball, he can finish around the basket. He’s just a great, great player.  He’s clearly the best player in college basketball this year and has been really from opening day.”

After the break more quotes from Coach Boeheim including ripping the media for asking Johnny Flynn if he’s going pro and the full interview.

On how Johnny Flynn has improved:

“Well I think he gets the ball to the right better now than he might have done at the beginning of the year, he looks for people.  He can still score when he needs to.  He’s got tremendous stamina and can play at a high level for the whole game.  He doesn’t have to come out of the game.”

On Johnny Flynn announcing that he’s coming back for his junior year:

“I don’t talk about that and I think it’s foolish for the media to ask people questions like that now because nobody’s going to want to answer that question. You’re not going to get an in-depth answer…you’re going to get something thrown out at the spur of the moment.   I don’t know why the media continues to ask that question.  The time to ask that question is when the year is over with and the decision has to be made.  Why would you ask a kid that question when he’s playing in the NCAA Tournament?  To me that’s just ridiculous.  No kid is going to be thinking about and shouldn’t be thinking about what he’s going to next year at this stage.”

Listen to Syracuse (#3 South Region) Head Coach Jim Boeheim on ESPN Radio Syracuse

View South Region coverage on CBS Sportsline

View highlights of Syracuse vs. Arizona State

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