November 17, 2010
Jim Boeheim already called this Syracuse squad the "most overrated" team he'd ever coached after Sunday's 19-point victory over Canisius, so his news conference after Tuesday's tepid 66-55 win over Detroit Mercy figured to contain some gems.
Sure enough, the Syracuse coach didn't disappoint, delivering a classic five-minute opening monologue that was quintessentially Boeheim. He didn't scream or curse but instead bemoaned his team's dismal 36.4 percent shooting against Detroit's zone defense and the inability of anyone besides point guard Scoop Jardine (27 points, 8 assists) to make open shots from the perimeter.
"If somebody was guarding one of these guys, I might have somewhat of an understanding," Boeheim told reporters in Syracuse. "You're in college. You're not in high school. You've got a scholarship. They don't guard you, then you've got to be able to make those shots. If you can't, then you shouldn't be in college playing basketball.
"Everyone told me what great shooters we have? Well, the two great shooters are 2 for 22. Will you please explain to me how they're great shooters? And I don't want to hear, 'Well, they make them in practice.' I make them in practice. If no one guards me, I can make them.
"Pretty soon we're going to play somebody who can make a shot, and we're not going to win that game."
A lengthy rant like this might seem like exaggeration considering Syracuse has beaten three decent mid-majors by an average of more than 17 points a game, but Boeheim has an ulterior motive here. He's clearly using the media in hopes of motivating a group of players who have not performed to expectations thus far.
Forward Kris Joseph has struggled to adapt to the role of go-to scorer, missing all five field goal attempts on Tuesday to fall to 6-for-23 on the season. Sophomores Brandon Triche and James Southerland shot a combined 3-for-17 on Tuesday. And prized freshmen Fab Melo and Dion Waiters look lost at times and are averaging a combined eight points a game.
"We're better than this," Boeheim said before poking fun at those who suggested his criticism after the Canisius game was hyperbole. "Whoever said we were overrated, you can't listen to those people. Most of those people are idiots anyway."