Tag:Jim Boeheim
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:24 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2012 10:37 am
 

Boeheim may be right: Players just don't care

Despite the off-court distractions, Brandon Triche and Syracuse continue to win. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

NEW YORK -- We've been waiting for Syracuse to slip-up throughout the season, free-fall and spiral downward with all the off-court turmoil that has surrounded the program. 

The Bernie Fine allegations, Fab Melo's suspension and the latest an NCAA investigation into the alleged cover-up of failed drug tests. 

"These kids care about two things," Boeheim said after his team pulled out a 58-55 win over UConn to advance to the Big East semifinals. "How they play and where their girlfriend's are." 

Maybe he's right. 

This Syracuse team improved to 31-1 after the victory against an enigmatic, yet talented Huskies group. 

Let's face it: This Orange group doesn't rank second when it comes to pure talent. In fact, it might not even crack the top five. But these guys have depth, chemistry and most importantly, tunnel vision.

"I don't pay it no mind," Orange sophomore guard Dion Waiters said. "I wasn't here for the drug stuff, the Fine stuff is out of our hands." 

"We don't know anything about it," teammate Scoop Jardine added about the latest news. 

I never gave the 'Cuse much of a chance to win the title. Not when this team goes up against Kentucky or North Carolina. But there's enough talent -- and these guys truly enjoy playing with one another. All you have to do is look at Jardine, spending most of his time on the bench in the second half against UConn, to become witness.

Jardine was busy smiling, laughing and cheering on his teammates, a far cry from the old Scoop - who would have been pouting and complaining about sitting on the bench. 

"He's come a long way," Syracuse coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins said. "He's become a great leader." 

"The chemistry isn't even close to what it was here," Jardine said. "And I think I was a part of the problem in the past." 

James Southerland, the team's ninth man in what's arguably the deepest rotation in the country, came through on Thursday with a couple of huge second-half shots to made sure the 'Cuse didn't leave New York City early in the Big East tourney. The team's leading scorer, Kris Joseph, struggled -- but there's enough overall talent that this team won't go down due to the issues of one guy. 

These guys have come closer, Syracuse athletic director Darryl Gross, told me -- with all of the off-court issues that have surrounded the program. 

Boeheim addressed Yahoo! Sports  recent story that multiple former Syracuse players tested positive for drugs and the team still allowed them to play. 

"This was reported it five years ago," he said. "We're waiting for them to finish the process." 

Then Boeheim declined to be specific, moments later in the hallways of Madison Square Garden saying only that it's "been a long time." Later Thursday, ESPN reported that the NCAA issued a statement that said it "received a self-report from Syracuse University on October 27, 2010."

"None of this bothers our players, our team or me," he said. "None of this. If things were bothering us, we wouldn't be 31-1. Nothing bothers us." 

Then Boeheim became Boeheim, jovial and sarcasm seeping through while talking to the media on Thursday afternoon in the post-game news conference. He made fun of Kris Joseph for his 1-for-8 performance with an injury to his non-shooting hand. Then he joked that Peyton Manning should come to the New York Jets. 

"How Coach (Boeheim) has handled it all has made it a lot easier for all of us," Jardine said. "He's doing a good job and we're just going up and racking up wins." 

"You don't get many opportunities to be on a team like this," Waiters added. 

Not a 31-win team that has received more attention off the court than it has on it. 


Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 5:26 pm
 

Syracuse, Boeheim to be sued by Fine accusers

By Matt Norlander

[READ THE LAWSUIT HERE]

The Bernie Fine case has now taken its predictable turn toward litigation.

Syracuse Rapid Reporter Thomas Casale filed a story Tuesday that stated Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, the two central figures in the sexual molestation allegations against the former Syracuse assistant coach, will sue Syracuse University.

Their attorney, Gloria Allred, is notable because she recently represented an alleged victim of Herman Cain's sexual harassment, as well as one of Tiger Woods' mistresses and Nicole Brown Simpson's family. Cain is no longer in the running for the President of the United States, so it's a splashy name to attach to this case. 

If possible, the case has become even more high-profile. Allred welcomes the spotlight and is one of the most notable, aggressive, PR-seeking attorneys in the country.

Jim Boeheim is also named in the defamation suit. And so the case heaves new life and a new angle. This is the tedious side of it, but we're still dealing with alleged victims of sexual assault, so the subject remains a sensitive one, even if lawyers will now begin to fill the words inside the quote marks of the news stories. You'll recall Boeheim originally was very vocal about how this was about money. He since recanted and apologized for those remarks.

Here's a snippet of what happened at today's press conference, via Syracuse.com:
"It really hurt me to learn that coach Jim Boeheim accused me of lying,” Davis said during the press conference. “For a long time, this was my worst fear, that if I did speak up against this person, that no one would ever believe me because of who Bernie was and how he was perceived in the public, as a great person who did so much for kids.

“Then I thought about other victims who might be willing to come forward, but who would see or hear coach Boeheim’s comments calling me a liar, worried that they would never be willing to speak up because coach Boeheim is a person who many kids and people in this community admire.”

Allred said she did not hear Boeheim’s later comments as an apology and his statements irreparably damaged her clients.

“The coach has seriously hurt my reputation,” Davis said. “But I want people to know the truth.”

Syracuse has not as of yet offered a comment in the wake of Tuesday's Allred/Davis/Lang press conference. Allred added, "It’s time now to make both Syracuse University and coach Boeheim accountable."

Photo: AP via ESPN


Posted on: December 10, 2011 10:36 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Syracuse's Scoop Jardine welcomes No. 1 spot

By Jeff Goodman

It's really been a huge distraction for Scoop Jardine and the Syracuse Orange.

That's sarcasm, folks, since Syracuse -- which has been under the national microscope for the last few weeks in the midst of the Bernie Fine sexual assault allegations -- will likely take the No. 1 spot on Monday when the new national polls are released.

The Orange improved to 10-0 after Saturday's rout over George Washington -- and with top-ranked Kentucky and No. 2 Ohio State both losing, the 'Cuse should move up to No. 1.

"All everyone is talking about is the scandal and I've used that to the guys as far as people disrespecting us as a team," Jardine told CBSSports.com on Saturday. "We didn't have anything to do with the scandal, don't know anything about it. This is our season."

Jardine has a point. Each time Syracuse wins a game, the first thing everyone talks or thinks about is Fine.

"They talk about that and maybe show one or two highlights," Jardine said. "No disrespect to everything that's going on, because obviously it's serious, but this is our season."

Jardine said that this team has taken a cue from its even-keeled leader, Boeheim, who hasn't appeared rattled throughout all the scrutiny.

"He hasn't let is distract him," Jardine said. "And it hasn't been a distraction to us, either."

Jardine said he welcomes the bulls-eye on the team's back once it gets anointed as the No. 1 team in the nation.

"It's something I want," Jardine said. "Something we want."

Next up for Syracuse, though, is its first true road game on Saturday against N.C. State. The Orange have beaten Florida and Marshall at the Carrier Dome and Virginia Tech and Stanford at Madison Square Garden, but a hostile environment is a different story.

"Kentucky went to Indiana and look what happened," Jardine said. "We know you can get beat anytime on the road."

But already, Jardine is enjoying it. He read a text he just received moments after the game from former Orange star Carmelo Anthony.

"Great job. We're number one. Time to really focus. Time to turn it up a notch and lock in."

With everything that's been going on since the middle of last month, one thing that can't be questioned is this team's focus.

Photo: AP
Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 12:23 am
 

Why did Bernie Fine have nine cellphones?

By Matt Norlander

There is plenty of flying shrapnel humming around the Syracuse/Bernie Fine case. Monday, the public was made privy to the items that federal authorities recently seized at Bernie Fine's house and workplace.

It's what you'd expect. All of his at-home electronics, including a raid on his Manley Field House office, too. But it's not what the authorities took the possessions, it's that Fine -- who still has not been charged with any crime and has denied all accusations -- reportedly was in possession of nine cellphones.

That's a detail that could potentially lead to serious collateral damage for Syracuse's basketball program down the road.

Even for a college coach, nine phones staggering number (still high if you want to assume five of those phones he no longer uses/are outdated). Plenty of cynics will greet this with mock applause, as assistants have been known to use extra phones as if they were a regular on "The Wire." For all the issues and problems Bernie Fine had in his life, there's really no plausible reason for him to explain having that many phones attached to his name.

We here at the blog mock Borzello for grotesquely having three.

There are plenty of issues bigger to this case than whether or not Fine was hardcore in helping Syracuse cheat. All of the sexual molestation allegations come in novel-weighted pages before we get to any NCAA impropriety, and I'm not saying that such impropriety is definitely even there. I'm saying Fine had nine cellphones and he was an assistant coach at a major D-I college basketball power.

Also, Fine was long off the recruiting trail, too. He wasn't he one working on landing the better Orange prospects in the past decade-plus. From a basketball standpoint, it doesn't make sense that he'd have that many cells to begin with. Those close to the program know Fine wasn't a cog in the recruiting machine at SU anymore.

Still, the question I can't get out of my head: Why so many phones, Bernie? (At the same time, I'm not in the mood to dip down into that dark territory right now.)

From the Post-Standard, here's an excerpt of what police were looking for and confiscated. (Note: Authorities couldn't care less, and it's out of their jurisdiction, if they ever came across information that showed illegal NCAA activity)
Two safety deposit boxes rented by Fine were also searched at local banks, according to the inventories from the execution of four search warrants. Seven letters were seized from one safe deposit box.

Authorities led by the U.S. Secret Service and Syracuse police searched Fine's house in DeWitt Nov. 25 and Fine's SU office Nov. 29. Records show the agents were looking for pornographic material and records relating to any association with boys, past or present, and any records of boys living in Fine's home. The agents also sought all records of interstate or foreign travel, such as records of air travel and hotels.

From Fine's home ... the Secret Service seized nine cell phones, three iPads, two laptop computers and one desktop computer, the documents show. They seized six still or video cameras, 16 VHS tapes and nearly 150 CD's or DVD's, the records show. The agents also seized a bag of negatives, seven safe deposit box keys, file cabinets, two boxes of documents and two boxes of checks from the home, the records show.

From Fine's office at SU's office ... the agents seized a laptop computer, a desktop computer, 135 CDs, 217 VHS tapes, and a box of documents and photos, the records show.

The irony of this is, the NCAA recently rejiggered its bylaws in regard to cellphone usage. It finally let go of so many strict, stale rules with phones, including text-messaging and Facebook/Twitter-related activity. But Fine had these phones before those rules were alleviated. It's a ways down the road, and the NCAA is acquiescing everything (rightfully) to to authorities right now, so this is just a side note to this mammoth case that's got 20 times as many questions as answers right now.

The potential victims remain the center of this case, but from a basketball and athletics perspective, Syracuse is by no means in the clear. Fine could ruin his school's name even more if one clue leads to another, and suddenly he's caught red-handed in cheating. This could come back to Jim Boeheim once again, too.

Sometime in the future, the NCAA may want to or be able to look into the records and see just who was getting called from all of Fine's phones.  The irony: AAU coaches and runners could end up being the best of the bunch, the stuff we'd all prefer to see, if anything wrong is on the phone records at all.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE

More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: December 5, 2011 1:12 am
 

Let us recognize how strong Syracuse has played

By Matt Norlander

When it’s highly acclaimed to start seasons, Syracuse doesn’t always bode well. Playing with prosperity has served as an ever-present, unshakable opponent for a number of Jim Boeheim’s teams. The year Syracuse won the national title, they were a 3 seed — and not a ranked team prior to the 2002-03 season.

But this year, expectations haven’t slowed or scared the Orange.  Amazingly, this year, of all years, that’s not the case.

Syracuse decidedly beat No. 9 Florida Friday night at the Carrier Dome, 72-68. You might’ve forgotten that, considering everything that happened afterward.

The nation’s second-most effective turnover team forced Florida into 20 giveaways. A month into college basketball, Syracuse is also best, appropriately enough, at swiping the ball (18 percent of opponents possessions). The Orange pickpocketed the Gators 10 times.

What else, what else … oh, yes, Syracuse is tops offensive rebound percentage, snaring 45.2 percent of its misses. They are gaudy numbers, ones that signal the 2-3 zone could be in for one of its better years up in central New York. We had Syracuse ranked No. 4 in the preseason here at CBSSports.com, and the Orange have done us the kind favor of looking rather on-point in that prognostication. (No other major media outlet or magazine, to my knowledge, had SU that high.)

The primary point here: What I took strictly from a basketball sense after ‘Cuse got that good win over the Gators is Boehiem’s team played as well against inferior competition thus far as it did against a group that many think can make the Final Four. I’ll amend that and say SU didn’t play well in all areas, but still convincingly beat UF. Not easy to do, even if the Gators didn’t have Erik Murphy, who’s a matchup problem for a lot of teams.

“This is our first really bad shooting game,” Boeheim said afterward. The Orange were 40.6 from the field at 17.6 from 3 (an abysmal 3-of-17). No matter — Florida never had control of the second half.

If you check out Syracuse’s schedule, you’ll see the Orange just got a win over the best non-conference opponent it will face until the NCAA tournament, and maybe even then Syracuse doesn’t get to play a team as good as Florida is right now.

It’s got North Carolina state on the road Dec. 17, but most should agree home against ninth-ranked Florida’s a tougher game than a road game against improving-but-raw N.C. State. The next conceivable — and I’m going to be kind here — tough game Syracuse will have against a team that can threaten it is home against Marquette on Jan. 7. The next true test  of high caliber is the UConn game at home, and that doesn’t come until Feb. 11.

It’s going to take a little while longer (actually, who knows what the timeline is; when and if more information about the Bernie Fine case comes out, all of that will still remain the bigger story) for Syracuse’s basketball team to get recognized more for what it’s doing this year. But this group is experienced in these kinds of distractions. And it’s played well amid them.

Remember February? A whole 10 months ago? It was then when an erroneous rumor surfaced that Syracuse was throwing games. The Orange started 18-0 (bet you forgot that, too), then lost four straight, and someone propped up a stupid rumor on a messageboard. After that became public, Syracuse beat UConn and won seven of its final nine regular season games.

Boeheim said the Fine mess hasn’t been a distraction for his team. It looks like he’s telling the truth. His team played well amid controversy last season, and it’s done so with aplomb again this year. You’d just have to look a little harder and beyond the bigger headlines to see it. Right now, Syracuse is the best team in the Big East, and one of the three best teams in the country.

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:04 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 10:05 pm
 

Jim Boeheim's new tone and full apology



By Matt Norlander

An emotional — but not quite on the verge of tears — Jim Boeheim had his latest chance to react to the allegations against former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine after undefeated Syracuse’s 72-68 win against Florida Friday night.

I’ve got a column coming on it, but here’s Boeheim’s somewhat scripted/still off-the-cuff statement/reaction quote in full. Boeheim said he was not advised on what to say, or whether to say anything at all. This was Boeheim's response after first giving a general reaction to the game.

“There are two topics I’m going to address tonight and I will talk professional bout the team and the game and what happened, and then I’m going to address something that’s personal to me. … I’m going to limit what I’m going to talk about, because of this ongoing investigation. But I want to make three comments. …

"I have talked to some people today and yesterday about what i was going to say, and these are my thoughts. I’m not good enough to put them down on paper. I just am not. No one said, ‘This is what you should say.’ No one indicated that I had to say something. This is what I feel, and I have to make three comments, and the first one is, I believe I misspoke very badly in my response to the allegations that have been made.

"I shouldn’t have questioned what the accusers expressed or their motives. I am really sorry that I did that and I regret any harm that I caused. It was insensitive to the individuals involved, and especially to the overall issue of child abuse. I spent yesterday afternoon at McMahon/Ryan House (a child advocacy center) talking to people, the director and some other people there, and although I have been involved with them, in terms of raising money, I think it’s important that we, and I, get involved more in terms of raising awareness. (Pause) What I said last week was out of loyalty. I reacted without thinking. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’m trying to learn from my mistake, and this has been a hard time. That’s all I can say. There’s an investigation going on that I fully support, because we all need to know, as much as we can, what happened.”

Photo: US PRESSWIRE

Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:37 am
 

Podcast: Seth Davis makes his return

By Matt Norlander

It is my honor to welcome back on to the podcast CBS/Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis, who was on this back when it was the College Hoops Journal Podcast. Seth is one of the classiest guys in the business; a true treat to have him come on.

I want to mention: today's podcast is a little "hot" here and there on Seth's end. Normally I record these podcasts Skype to Skype, but we did this one via Seth's house phone line, and I had no idea until after the call was done that his levels were so harsh at some points, so forgive the audio since it's not as smooth as it normally is. I'll make sure Seth boots up his Skype account for his next appearance.

Seth writes a weekly Hoop Thoughts column that I can't recommend enough, and you can also follow him on Twitter. Loved having him on, and will aim to get him back on in January and February as well.

The rundown:
  • From the beginning: One more time, with gusto: the Syracuse story. I can't recommend this part of the podcast enough. Seth and I have a respectable, intelligent (on his end) debate over morals and ethics with this story. It's about 14 minutes long, and I think is the first time I've ever really butted heads with someone on the podcast.
  • 14:45: Jim Boeheim's legacy and future.
  • 16:50: Ohio State, the fact Aaron Craft as the best point guard in the country, which Seth stated in his most recent column (linked above).
  • 19:39: What does Deshaun Thomas do for Ohio State if he becomes the offense force he's flashed himself to be?
  • 22:00: Seth's pick for best freshman so far. You won't see it coming.
  • 24:10: Seth will be at Vandy-Louisville before UNC-UK, so we touch on that one first.
  • 26:52: Here's the juicy part: Carolina-Kentucky talk. We close out the podcast talking this big game, and why Seth disagrees with my UK-will-win-by-double-digits prediction.

You can listen to the CBSSports.com College Basketball Podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The podcasts go up here and on iTunes. The Wednesday show is dedicated to keeping the egos of CBSSports.com national writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish inflated. Mondays and Fridays are for the real people to come on. Here's the iTunes link. We also have an RSS feed for you to track. If you're still going strong and hanging on to a Zune, then, yes, you can listen on that as well.

Posted on: November 29, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Syracuse Chancellor vocalizes support for Boeheim

By Matt Norlander

Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor has been thorough, direct, abrupt and unafraid to address the Bernie Fine case at Syracuse since it first broke nearly two weeks ago.

Now Cantor has put her support of Orange coach Jim Boeheim out to the public, albeit briefly and not with undeniable definition. She did so Tuesday afternoon. From the AP:

"Cantor emerged from an economic development conference with state officials and said: 'He is our coach.' Some commentators and sex abuse victims' advocates have said Boeheim should resign in the wake of allegations that Bernie Fine had molested three boys, including two Syracuse ballboys."

Here's the story on the sexual abuse support group calling for Boeheim's firing. The calls for Boeheim's job stem from the fact he was defiant in calling Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, the first Fine accusers, "liars" who were after a "money grab."

Boeheim expressed regret over those initial statements Sunday night, once a third accuser and a phone recording claimed by ESPN to be that of Laurie Fine, Bernie's wife, surfaced. Fine was fired by the university Sunday.

Photo: AP
 
 
 
 
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