Former Providence head coach and Syracuse assistant coach, and current SNY/ESPN college basketball analyst, Tim Welsh joined us on The Juice on the Cuse podcast on Wednesday to chat about Jim Boeheim’s upcoming milestone, Michael Carter-Williams’ ceiling and conference realignment.
Here are some of the highlights from the interview. Listen to the full podcast here.
The Juice Online: How big of a deal is 900 wins to coach Boeheim?
Tim Welsh: Every one is big as he approaches 900. I’m sure he’s thought back and reflected on what an unbelievable career he’s had. To know him is to know that in the middle of the basketball season, he’s not focusing on anything except getting his team better and winning the next game. That’s the big picture, and maybe when the season ends, he’ll be able to look back and be able to reflect not only 900, but in the next week or so, passing Bobby Knight at 903. I think that to him probably means more, because I know how much respect he has for all of the great coaches at the top of the winning list, especially Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski, and he would be No. 2 once he gets to 903 behind Krzyzewski.
TJO: Do you see Boeheim retiring soon?
TW: I don’t even think that’s in the discussion. I haven’t even really thought about it because when I’m around him, and I seen him, and I’ve watch him and observed him, there’s no slowing down. So why should he step down? He’s having a great time and enjoying himself with this group of players. I think he enjoys his coaching staff and where he is with the program, and I think it’s a new challenge for him to go to the ACC once they get there, and I think he’ll enjoy that. Sometimes you need new challenges and new things happening to you in life to keep you going. And I think this will just further his career going to the ACC. It’s a new exciting adventure for him. And I don’t see any ending time period where you could say, “OK it’s 3 years, it’s 4 years, it’s 5 years.” I don’t think it’s going to be anything like that. He’s going to keep going for a while, as long as he has his health, which he does, and he keeps winning, which he has been, and he keeps recruiting at a high level, which he certainly has been doing. So, there’s no reason… age is just a number. I think he’s 68 now, but he’s a very young 68. He’s probably got the energy of someone in their 40s. He’s still got the same energy that he had when I was an assistant coach 20-something years ago. When I talk about energy, I’m talking about being able to coach your team on a daily basis and being able to do the things you have to do with the media and also to be able to get out on the road and recruit and close and go into kid’s homes and bring them to Syracuse. He’s doing all those at the highest level, so there’s no slowing down. Hopefully he doesn’t retire for a long time because we’re still enjoying him on the sideline and he’s one of the greatest.
TJO: Michael Carter-Williams leads the nations in assists and is among the leaders in steals. Can he get even better than he is now?
TW: He can become a better shooter. He has to become a more consistent outside shooter, and then, it’s not fair. Because he will become almost unguardable because when you combine his size, his athleticism, his ability to dribble the ball and get by people even with his size, even smaller guards, and then his vision, if you combine that with the ability to knock down shots, then you’re talking about a lock for a lottery pick. And also First Team All-American and the best point guard in the country, because right now you’re talking about, from what I’ve seen, he’s in the top 3 in the nation in points guards right now and he’s moving upward. And he’s going to keep getting better. They’ve done a wonderful job with him getting him to understand and have a great feel for the game and how to operate and how to quarterback a team. And that goes with Jim, and then, of course, he’s got three point guards on the staff, so that’s really a great advantage for Michael Carter-Williams and he’s gotten the opportunity to play. Jim’s system is a great system for a point guard because there’s a lot of freedom out there.
We also talked to Welsh about his expectations for the 2012-13 season and his thoughts on conference realignment. Be sure to check out the full interview.