Boeheim, Syracuse Readying for Michigan
Jim Boeheim by Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Managing Editor
Posted Apr 5, 2013


Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim along with junior guard Brandon Triche and senior forward James Southerland discuss their upcoming Final Four match-up with Michigan. Boeheim also waxes poetic about a number of other topics affecting college basketball.

FastScripts Transcript courtesy of ASAP Sports

Q. James, can you just talk a little bit about that period when you were out? What are some of the things you noticed watching from the sidelines?

James Southerland: One of the different things I noticed is that other teams were pinching in. It was kind of hard not being out there because I wasn't out there to spread the floor. My team did a great job of playing hard. They beat. No.1 team in the country in Louisville at that time when I was out, played hard against Villanova and Notre Dame. Did a great job.

Q. I don't know how much film you've actually been able to watch or how often you've seen Michigan in this tournament, but they seem to be playing at a high level offensively. Have you seen that and do you think they're playing as well offensively as a team you faced?

JAMES SOUTHERLAND: Yeah, definitely. I mean, that's the reason why they got to the Final Four. They didn't get here because they weren't playing good basketball. They're a high offensive team like lots of teams we played, like Marquette and Indiana. Got to make sure we get back and make sure they don't get easy shots.

Brandon Triche: They're a team that can spread the floor shooting threes. One thing our zone has been able to do, especially in the tournament, is stopping guys from shooting threes. Hopefully we can do that and replicate the same defense we've been putting out the last four games or so.

Q. Brandon, how have you seen Michael Carter-Williams evolve this year?

BRANDON TRICHE: I think he been playing pretty well actually. He started out the season averaging 11 or 12 assists. As teams got used to the way he played, that kind of went down. He's been a great leader for our team. He had ups and downs shooting-wise. But he battled throughout the season and persevered. You know, he's playing as well as he can play right now. This is right when we need him.

Q. Brandon, obviously a lot of talk about what James does offensively. What does he mean for your defensive scheme and that zone?

BRANDON TRICHE: His length along with Jerami Grant, he also did a good job while James was out. His length, his willingness to battle, to get rebounds. He also been getting a lot of blocks lately. Just being really active. Out there he's talkative. He's able to communicate to different guys and get guys to the right spots.

Q. Is it fair to say that this is going to be a clash of different styles? Back to your defense, how much do you play over-frustrating other teams and taking advantage of that?

JAMES SOUTHERLAND: You know, we do a great job of making people take tough shots. I know Michigan is a young team, we're a little bit older, so we're going to definitely try to play a little smarter.
I feel as if we go out there and stop 'em early, make 'em take tough shots, limit them from second-chance opportunities, we'll be fine.

BRANDON TRICHE: Just to piggyback off of James. I think our experience, that's going to be huge in this game. You know, we're a very tough defensive team. If we're able to match their intensity, I think we'll have the advantage.

THE MODERATOR: We'll let Brandon and James go and continue with questions for Coach Boeheim.

Q. Jim, this has nothing to do with the Final Four. I'm curious, your thoughts about the transfer rules as they're presently constituted? How would you feel about the proposal where they would let kids who have a 2.6 GPA or higher transfer without losing that year?

COACH BOEHEIM: Well, the grade point has nothing to do with somebody transferring, not losing a year. What does that mean? There should be no relationship to whether you have a 2.0, a 3.0, or 3.5.
The reason there's no transfers allowed, in particularly today's world, if a guy is just a little bit unhappy and he can play right away, we have a record number of transfers now, which in some cases transfer is not a bad idea. But if we allowed players to transfer and play right away, you'd have a mass exodus every year because I have three or four guys -- if they knew they could play right away, they'd probably think, 'might be a little better over there', and they'd have their friends or their coaches and people around them telling them every day, 'geez, you can go there, they need a guy like you, you'll play right away, you'll get the ball, everything.' You'd have a mass chaotic situation if you had that kind of freedom. It should never be tied to grade point. That has no relationship to it. The other transfer part, I've always felt that if somebody is truly sick at home and you need to go back home to be closer to them, you should want to sit out the year and be with that person who's sick, and then play. I don't know why you would transfer to be back to home, then you play. Even if you're within 10 minutes of your house, when you're in season, you don't have any time to get out. And the thing with graduating early and transferring, I just think that's a horrible idea, a horrible idea. I always have. I've seen examples of kids who have transferred to be near home, and the person in question who was sick wasn't sick, in fact, and they still transferred to be near home because somebody was sick. Another transfer transferred to be closer to home, and they were 150 miles from home where they transferred to. So I think the whole thing is just not good for college basketball. And just when you sit out a year, there's a record number of transfers. It's in the 300 or 400s I think last year. Although I think in some cases a transfer is a good situation, if somebody's truly unhappy, if somebody is not playing, and they can move someplace else and play, I think transfer's a great thing. But I think the sitting out a year at least makes them think about what they're doing and makes sure that's what they want to do.

Q. What does leaving the Big East mean to you? What aspects of your program's tradition are you going to take with you to the ACC? What aspects are you going to say, We're Big East, leave it like that for them to be cherished?

COACH BOEHEIM: I'm not sure there's any of that for the last part. The first part of the question, I've been in the Big East for 34 years. It will be a monumental change for me to move. It's also a tremendous challenge. It's an easier move now than it would have been seven or eight, ten years ago, because there's former Big East schools there, former Big East schools coming with us. So there's more familiarity.
I think it's a great conference. I think the way the Big East has changed, it's not the great conference it was. It's completely different now. It's much more of a national-type conference. I think the ACC, the good thing for us, most every game we play is an hour and a half flight, so I think that's a good thing.

Q. What rivalries are you looking forward to establishing?

COACH BOEHEIM: The good thing about rivalries, before we left, joined the Big East, was St.Bonaventure. We don't play St.Bonaventure anymore. You create new rivals when you go in. We never played Georgetown that much, never really played Louisville, Marquette. They've all become rivals. It's who you play. Within five years, we'll have several rivals in the ACC, and everything else will be forgotten.
Change is part of life and everything will go on.

Q. You and Coach Pitino worked together in the '70s, come from a similar foundation. I'm curious the similarities in philosophy that you see between your signature systems and how that time together helped each of you develop that?

COACH BOEHEIM: Well, you know, Rick was an unbelievable young coach. You could see that. He really inspired individual workout more ideas of that when he came in. I think he's the best at that in terms of working with players individually. We pressed a lot back then. We played man and zone back then. So I think we were a little bit more similar to what Louisville is now back then. We did all those things.
But, you know, we pushed it up the court. Louisville pushes up the court. So there's a lot of similarities the way both teams play, I think.

Q. I wonder if you had a chance to watch the '63 championship between Loyola/Chicago?

COACH BOEHEIM: I watched it. I remember it was late and I was very young. It was an impressive, impressive game to watch. I didn't know a lot about basketball at that point in time. I was just a senior in high school.

Q. That was the first time I think there were four starting black kids on Chicago in that game, three from Cincinnati. A lot of people think in some ways even more so than the Texas Western/Kentucky game, that might have been the harbinger of recruiting black kids.

COACH BOEHEIM: You know, I never look at what color players are. I have no idea how many black players are on the court or not. I never have. It's never an issue. That's never something I've ever even thought about. I'd have to stop and think to even figure out how many black players play for us. I don't even think of that.

Q. I was wondering just talking to some people, it sounded like James Southerland was hearing that maybe he should leave when he was younger. How valid was that and why did he stay?

COACH BOEHEIM: Well, yeah, I think every guy goes through that when they're not playing as a freshman. We've been fortunate that we've had veteran guys, our freshmen have had to wait a little bit. Sometimes. Sometimes some freshmen are not equal to other freshmen and they're more able to play right away. But we've been able to keep guys like James and even C.J. Fair, although he played as a freshman, didn't play a lot, all the time. You know, Michael obviously went through a tough year last year because we had three guys in his position. It's something we've been able to hold onto those guys. We never recruit a kid who we think is going to have to wait more than one year. So that we feel that after we can get a guy through that year, he'll see that his time is coming. In most cases, that's the way it's worked out. You know, a guy like Baye hasn't started, but he's played every year. James has played every year. But his freshman, sophomore year, he didn't play as much as he would have liked, but he could see that his time was coming. It's hard. We recruit fairly highly recruited players, although James was not a top 250 player. Still, when you don't get in and play as a freshman, you're thinking about, Where am I going? You know, James really has got a lot of pride. He didn't want to go step back to a smaller school, which he made the right decision. But the first couple years are not as rewarding as you would like. But over the years we've been consistent in what we do because we've been able to bring guys like James and Baye, this year, Jerami Grant along, keep them getting better, getting them prepared, so that this year when James leaves, somebody will be ready in that position. That's the only way you can maintain consistency.

Q. Going into the Indiana game, your pre-scout, you felt very good about the fact that your guards had a size advantage, both offensively and defensively. Michigan has bigger guards. They've got a big guy who can go down low. They've got a guy in Robinson who can sort of work that foul line area. Are they the best offensive team?

COACH BOEHEIM: Indiana had a big guy down low, and they had a guy in the foul line area, too. Michigan's guard is six foot. You know, I mean, I never thought the Indiana game, that we were going to be able to take that kind of advantage. It's just something that happened. You know, you think about those things before. But most of the time it never evolves. The key to coaching is being flexible during the game, not before the game. I don't watch that much tape. I don't think that much about some of those things. As the game evolves, you can see whether you have an advantage or not and try to capitalize on it.
But, no, I didn't look at that in the Indiana game. I don't really look at it that much in this game. We try to execute the things that we do on offense. We don't try to change for a particular team.
Defensively, we try to play our defense the way we play it. We adjust it a little bit before the game when we're playing somebody, and then we adjust it during the game as we see what they're doing. That's just something you have to be flexible with as the game progresses.



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