ATLANTA — Jim Boeheim is already on record — several times — as saying that he will definitely coach in 2013-14 and probably beyond.
Yet in the wake of Syracuse’s 61-56 loss to Michigan in the national semifinals, CBSSports.com reporter Gregg Doyel thought it appropriate to ask Boeheim — on the podum, in a room full of reporters — if was coming back next season.
That’s basically the equivalent of asking a kid, say Michael Carter-Williams, after a season-ending loss if he’s headed to the NBA. (Hint: in Carter-Williams’ case, he more than likely is.)
The exchange went just like this:
Q. When do you think you’ll decide, announce, whether or not you’re coming back next year?
COACH BOEHEIM: Why would you ask that question? I expect it from you. I know you. Why ask that question? Are you going to ask John Beilein that question.
Q. We ask 19-year-old questions and they handle it better than you are.
COACH BOEHEIM: You ask 19-year-old kid if he’s going to retire? Really?
Q. If they’re going to be back next year?
COACH BOEHEIM: If you’re going to say something smart, at least be smart.
Q. I said be back next year, I didn’t say retire. If you’re going to be smart, at least get it right.
COACH BOEHEIM: I am right.
Q. Are you going to be back next year or not?
COACH BOEHEIM: I’m not going to answer that question unless you ask every coach that question. Are you going to ask John if he’s going to retire or not coming back next year? I’ve never indicated at any time that I’m not coming back next year – ever.
Later, the exchange picked up again, with Boeheim giving some of his most detailed pro-ACC, anti-Big East comments yet. He basically said he would be traveling less by going to the ACC than he would if he had to make trips to Texas, Illinois or Wisconsin in the American Athletic Conference or new Big East.
Q. Honestly, my theory with you is you don’t want to coach in the ACC because of your Big East loyalty.
COACH BOEHEIM: I’m sorry, I apologize. It wasn’t you. Anybody that asked that question, I would have been mad.
But, no, I’ve heard this. Roy Williams has got a bet on it, somebody else has got a bet on it. I love the Big East, but if the Big East was the same as it was, or even remotely the same, I would quit because I wouldn’t be happy.
The Big East is not there at all. In fact, there’s more Big East teams in the ACC than there are Big East teams in whatever the conference is, American whatever.
So I should be happy because there’s more teams that I know in the ACC. I’ve always thought that the two best leagues in the country were the ACC and the Big East over the last 34 years. I’ve always thought that. I mean, somebody can prove me wrong in a number of ways, but it’s just my opinion. I always thought they were the two best leagues.
For us to be able to stay on the East Coast, and predominantly all our games are an hour and a half, almost all, and in the Big East, without this crazy expansion, we had to go to Florida, we had to go to Marquette, Notre Dame anyway. So we had long trips. We’ll have the same long trips that we had. When you’re chartering now, it’s mostly an hour, most of these trips.
I mean, the ACC has absolutely zero input into whether I would not coach next year. The only reason that I would not coach next year is because I didn’t feel I could do a good job or wanted to do it, and I have no feeling at all now that that will be the case. Usually right now I would have that feeling. If I don’t have it now, I’m not going to have it in September.
And I don’t want anybody to be thinking, like I don’t want to ever say, I’ll think about it and tell you later. I’ll never do that. I’ll never do that. I think that’s not the way to do it for the program, and I wouldn’t do that.
But I’ve enjoyed this team as much as any team I’ve ever coached. They’ve achieved more than I ever thought they could. And I always think they can achieve a lot.
You know, I like where we are. Everything in me intends to be back coaching next year. And I always say this at the end, that’s probably why people ask me the question: there’s always a chance that somebody might think, you know, you get back into coaching, you get in the thing, you just don’t feel it. If that happens, you know, I don’t want to ever let it be said that I misled anybody.
As far as I know, I’m 100% coaching next year. You know, that’s really kind of where I’m at right now.
Back in the Syracuse locker room following the exchange, Boeheim reiterated to a smaller group of reporters yet again that he will coach next season. He said he planned to spend the summer playing some golf and watching his twin boys play AAU basketball.
“Yeah, but they’ll all be seventh-graders,” he said. “When they’re in tenth grade, I can recruit, too.”
Saturday could have been a huge day not only for Syracuse but for its incoming point guard Tyler Ennis, too.
Ennis and St. Benedict’s Prep lost a heartbreaker to Montverde (FL) Academy, 67-65, in the ESPN National High School Invitational championship game despite a huge late 3-pointer from Ennis that put St. Benedict’s up 65-64.
With Carter-Williams likely headed to the NBA Draft lottery, Ennis will take over at the point next season.
“I think he’s going to be pretty good, he’s pretty good,” Boeheim said. “He’s a good player. I think we have a good group coming in. I think we’ll be fine.
“I think we got a really good player sitting out [Michael Gbinije], I think we’ve got some good players coming in, and I think we’ve got some really good players here.
“But next year is next year.”
And Boeheim plans to be back to coach it.
So let’s stop asking him about it.