by Brandon Reiter
Jim Boeheim has become synonymous with Syracuse Basketball due to the fact that he has been the University’s head coach for 47 years. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest coaches in the history of the college game, establishing Syracuse as one of the country’s most successful programs that doesn’t wear the color blue. In his half-century long career, Boeheim won his and the program’s sole championship in 2003, and has reached the Final Four 4 times (2 of which happened to be while I was a student) in 37 NCAA tournament appearances.
The team has had a shaky 2022-2023 season, and Boeheim has become increasingly irritated and disrespectful to the media and other schools in his conference, recently whining about how they “bought” their teams with NIL deals. Many people though Boeheim would finally step down after his sons graduated last season, but he is still hinting at a return next year in spite of the team’s woes. His lack of self-awareness is setting himself up as a grumpy old man with a big ego who does not believe anybody can do the job better than him.
Many Syracuse fans may disagree, and I embrace it, however let’s look at the facts. The team is underperforming, he is not recruiting top tier talent, and he does not produce NBA talent.
Even if you agree that Boeheim isn’t the best coach, a common counterpoint would be that he has consistently been able to recruit big names to come to the bitter cold north and play for the Orange. However, that is simply not the case anymore. In the last 4 recruiting classes, the Orange have only had a single Top 100 recruit in each class, and 2 of them have since transferred. This notion that he is this juggernaut recruiter has simply not been true since the early 2010’s when he was able to get names like Dion Waiters, Fab Melo (RIP), Jerami Grant, and Michael Carter-Williams. He has not had a single Five Star recruit since Chris McCollough in 2014, who only ended up playing in 16 games before a season ending injury.
Since the championship run 20 season ago, led by future NBA Hall-of-Famer Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse has had just 4 alums last more than 4 seasons in the NBA. The best player of the crop has been Jerami Grant, which says enough. Compared to the other CBB powerhouses who pump out NBA talent year in and year out, Syracuse doesn’t even come close. If you cannot produce NBA talent, how can you expect to convince a top recruit to endure the Syracuse winters and play in his stubborn 2-3 zone which is rarely, if ever, used in the NBA?
The Team Stinks
Over his career, Boeheim has a winning percentage of roughly 72%, but in the last 4 seasons he is barely above .500. The team has failed to win 20 games in 7 of the 10 seasons since leaving the Big East for the ACC. The 10 seasons prior, the team never failed to capture 20 wins and averaged over 26 wins per season.
He’s a grumpy old man
While Boeheim, has never been known for his warm personality, he has been getting into bitter interactions with the media and is even whining about other teams “buying” players with NIL deals (which is allowed now). He’s almost 80 years old, and I can’t imagine he is able to connect with players on a way they can trust, considering he is almost a century older than them.
Boeheim’s entire identity is being Syracuse’s head coach, which is probably why he refuses to leave and pass the torch. The team has plenty of young assistant coaches who have earned a shot. I believer they could do just as good of a job recruiting, if not better, and won’t have that high of a bar to reach in terms of recent regular season success.
Listen Jimmy, I know it’s hard to step aside and recognize that your time is up. I get that it’s hard to accept the notion that someone younger than you could be better at the job you’ve been doing twice as long as they’ve been alive. But sometimes it takes a bigger man to recognize that a young mind with fresh energy and ideas could revitalize a stagnant program and bring them back to their winning ways.
He also picks his nose on the sidelines every game as he watches his team lose and it’s pretty gross.
Please Jim, just say goodbye, walk off into the sunset. I’d say we would name the court after you but it already is. It’s time for someone new.