Boeheim’s Army has become the Syracuse basketball sensation of the summer. Though BA lost in the round of 16, there was palpable excitement among fans and players.
Appreciate cuse nation as always not a way we wanted to end but I appreciate all the love and support more then you all know!!! I am forever 🍊🍊🍊 all love!!!
— Eric Devendorf (@edeven23) July 28, 2019
Like most of you, I can’t wait for next summer, and hope that Boeheim’s Army can eventually take home the $2 million prize. In the meantime, here’s my wish list for the 2020 TBT:
KEEP THE REGIONAL IN SYRACUSE, FOREVER
For three days in Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena, Syracuse basketball fans showed up in droves to support Boeheim’s Army. On top of appearances from Jim Boeheim himself, the entire coaching staff and the current players also showed up to root on their alumni.
It gave Boeheim’s Army a huge home-court advantage, and the TBT had to be pleased with ticket sales. There shouldn’t be any reason to move the regional out of Syracuse given the enthusiasm and support for the three days.
So yeah, the current Syracuse team is into this Boeheim’s Army game. pic.twitter.com/wawU3pzsJ4
— Donna Ditota (@DonnaDitota1) July 28, 2019
PLAY MORE MAN DEFENSE
Oh boy. This one might get me in a little trouble. But Boeheim’s Army should play more man. *Ducks*
Why? Well, one of the reasons why Syracuse’s 2-3 zone is so effective is because the amount they practice it. After Boeheim’s team lost an exhibition game to Div. II Le Moyne College in 2009, Boeheim vowed to go exclusively zone from that point forward.
That means in every practice throughout the course of the preseason through postseason tournaments, SU is refining and drilling its defense.
That’s simply not the case for Boeheim’s Army, which comes together around July 4th weekend to hold practices. With the exception of Eric Devendorf, all of the players have professional careers, and none are with a team that plays exclusively zone. They’re out of practice when it comes to that, which was at least some of the cause of a 14 rebound deficit and 25 offensive rebounds surrendered to Brotherly Love on Sunday.
“They had us moving our feet on defense and were able to attack and find the openings in zone,” Boeheim’s Army general manager Kevin Belbey said. Brotherly Love’s second-half run downed BA, 84-72, in the regional final of TBT: https://t.co/JAh1VI2YKO pic.twitter.com/jl4lofxstM
— Daily Orange Sports (@DOsports) July 29, 2019
I repeat: I’m not saying play man defense 100 percent of the time. But more man could help.
Another reason why Syracuse struggled in the rebounding category was a lack of a backup power forward. Hakim Warrick starts in that position, but when coach Ryan Blackwell went to his bench, he had to go small, inserting BJ Johnson, which left two small forwards at the wings.
General Manager Kelvin Belbey addressed this need initially, adding former Brooklyn Net Chris McCullough to the roster. But McCullough had scheduling issues and missed the entire first weekend. His length and rebounding ability, along with his shooting touch, could’ve been the missing piece.
Other players that I think would be perfect fits for Boeheim’s Army:
- Andy Rautins: You can never have enough good outside shooting, and Rautins was one of the best in Syracuse history. Belbey has inquired into his status before, but Rautins professional overseas career has made that difficult—for now.
- Wes Johnson: In his one season, Johnson was a First Team All-Big East and All-American performer, and recently signed with the Greek pro team Panathinaikos. His NBA days are likely behind him, but his perimeter defense and shooting would be a fantastic addition.
- Tyler Ennis: Boeheim’s Army could use a steady pass-first ball handler who has a knack for the dramatic. After a four-year career in the NBA, he’s now overseas, playing for the Turkish club Fenerbahçe.
- Carmelo Anthony. ‘Nuff said.