A quick take on Syracuse basketball’s participation at the annual ACC Tipoff media day event held Wednesday at The Westin Charlotte in uptown Charlotte, N.C.:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was joined by senior guard Joe Girard and senior center Jesse Edwards at the event. As per the usual agenda, the trio appeared on stage for a 15-minute press conference, had additional breakout sessions with the media including appearing on the ACC Network, and conducted one-on-one interviews with the multitude of sports radio stations broadcasting live during the day. Commissioner Jim Phillips got the day started with his forum addressing a number of issues. Those included the expected continued strength of ACC basketball after sending two teams to last year’s Final Four, creating increased revenue and brand enhancement for each school, expanding the College Football Playoff, and moving the league’s offices from Greensboro to just a few blocks away from The Westin Charlotte during the next year.
ANALYSIS: As expected, Boeheim was asked about his future, and as usual was coy about his intentions. Speaking about his recently retired former colleagues and friends Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Jay Wright, Boeheim waxed philosophically. “Those guys are hard to replace, but as we all know, there’s nobody that’s irreplaceable. Life goes on.” Girard and Edwards were as complimentary in their comments about each other, as they hope to be in providing a stellar inside and outside game on the court this season. Girard: “Jesse is obviously a really skilled big man. He’s seven-foot and can do a lot of things around the rim, catch it with both hands, shoot with both hands, and a lot of times as a guard it makes your job easier because you feel like you can throw the ball anywhere near him and he’s going to go catch it.” Edwards: “I would just say Joe brings all the energy we’ve always had on the court. I remember as a freshman you’ve always got to get used to things, but Joe went out there, made some big shots and got everybody fired up. He’s a floor general. He spaces the floor really well. Yeah, it’s always easy to play with him.”
HERO: There’s no doubt that Girard is going to be the face of this year’s team, and it’s a role he thoroughly enjoys as the leader of his teammates. “I think the biggest thing about leadership is helping guys along the way when we need help or stepping in when they need it or showing them the proper way to do it, because if they see someone else who’s been there for a while do it, they’re likely to follow.”
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ZERO: It’s anyone’s guess as to where Syracuse will be projected by the media voting for the Preseason Order of Finish, but with only two starters returning the likely perception is that the Orange will not finish in the upper half of the league standings. The ‘Cuse has been preseason picked as high as 2nd (2014) and as low as 10th (2018), with an average of 7th in nine previous polls as ACC members. You’ll also have to wait to find out because the Preseason Order of Finish, Preseason All-ACC team, Preseason Player of the Year, and Preseason Rookie of the Year will not be revealed until next week on the ACC Network’s “ACC PM” program Wednesday, Oct. 19.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse continues preseason practice before holding its own media day session this Friday, Oct. 14 (4:00 p.m.) at the Melo Center. The team will then head over to the Dome for the annual Orange Tipoff scrimmage and assorted activities scheduled for 7:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. The two exhibition games will be played Tuesday, Oct. 25 against Indiana (Pa.), and Tuesday, Nov. 1 versus Southern New Hampshire. Both Dome contests begin at 7:00 p.m. The season opener is Monday, Nov. 7 against Lehigh in the Dome. Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ET. TV: ACC Network Extra.
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