Boeheim's Feeling Young Again

By Josh Herwitt - October 24, 2007

NEW YORK -- Another soft-spoken character, legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, faced a good crowd of reporters all throughout the day's event and of course was asked mutliple times about last year's NCAA Tournament snub.

But what happened last year is done with and over, and all the Orangemen can do now is look forward to the 2007-08 with five new faces, including highly-regarded recruits Donte' Green, Jonny Flynn and Antonio "Scoop" Jardine.

"A lot of the guys on this year's team didn't experience what happened last year," junior guard Eric Devendorf said. "We got a lot of new faces, and it's a new season and a new start. I think that's what everyone's looking forward to."

Boeheim likes the potential that each of them has shown so far, but there's still a lot of uncertainty that comes with playing freshmen.

"There's no way of really measuring the kind of success a kid can have because you don't know the motivation of some of the kids until they get to college," 32-year coach said. "It's just like basketball. In a lot of cases, you just don't know how good a player is gonna be. You have to see his development and how much he wants it."

"All the freshmen are looking real good," Devendorf added. "They're all excited to play, and they're going to help us out a lot. They really need to help us out a lot because they're a big part of this team."

And for that reason, Boeheim said that he's had do things differently this year with all the new players coming in, something that didn't happen with seniors Demetris Nichols, Terrence Roberts and Darryl Watkins leading the way.

"You can't prepare them for the shock of college basketball," Boeheim explained. "Once they get that, you have to get them through conference play, which is another shock. Certainly talent helps, but it's the learning process -- it's how quickly they can learn things they're gonna have to learn."

Boeheim, though, will miss the three-point shooting of Andy Rautins, who has been forced to red-shirt this season with an ACL tear after leading the Orangemen with a 35.6 percent clip from beyond the arc.

"He was a great shooter and you can't replace a great shooter," Boeheim said. "Those guys aren't sitting around, so we'll miss him and his experience. It will provide an opportunity for some of the young guys that wouldn't have played as much, so hopefully they'll take advantage of that opportunity."

With the kind of freshmen talent that he has, Boeheim shouldn't be too worried about seeing his team miss the NCAA Tournament again.

"They've been in a lot big games," he said. "They know how to play. I think they bring a lot to the table, and I think they'll be able to contribute right away."

Yet even so, Boeheim is still in favor of seeing the NCAA Tournament field move up to 80 teams sometime in the future of college basketball.

"Do I think there should be expansion? Yeah, I'm on record very solidly," Boeheim said. "Wil there be one? No, not right away. The TV contract is already done."

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 03:26 PM on October 24, 2007

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