Atlantic Coast Conference Operation Basketball

Wednesday October 26, 2016

Jim Boeheim

Syracuse Orange

JIM BOEHEIM: We're happy to be here, and be glad to answer all your questions.

Q. One of the deeper ACC leagues this year, just how deep is this league this year?
JIM BOEHEIM: Well, I think it's the best -- I mean, we've been probably the best league in the country the last couple years based on the tournament performance for sure, and I think this is the deepest the league has been. I think we certainly rival a couple of the years in the Big East when we put 10 or 11 teams in the tournament. I think we're really close to that with 10 or 11 teams that could be tournament teams.

It's really the deepest that I've seen since I've been in the league.

Q. Speaking on depth, for your team this season, just speaking on not only having the leadership of Roberson and Coleman but having the experiential leadership of White as well as Gillon coming onto the team.
JIM BOEHEIM: Well, I think to have four seniors is unusual in college basketball, so that's obviously a huge plus to be able to pick up experienced guards when we lost our guards from last year, two fifth-year guys, to have two more fifth-year guys come in.

Obviously it takes time to fit those pieces together, but certainly if you don't have those pieces, you're not going very far. It's a great problem to have, and to have those guys and have a Paschal eligible this year to give us a little bit more presence in the middle.

And I think all of our players have really worked hard in the off-season. I see big improvements from our returning players. That's always good.

Q. What is just the general mentality of this team, especially considering what you guys did last year, and what's the mentality of the incoming guys and just how excited are they to be a part of this program?
JIM BOEHEIM: I think all college teams that have a chance think that they can do anything. I really do. I think our team is no different. They think if things come together, we play the way we can and get on a run, that we can do anything. You know, obviously last year's team did that, so there's a little bit of a recent example of being able to get someplace. But I think that's probably the mindset more and more of all teams, and that's why you see so many teams in the tournament that can get someplace and so many upsets that you do see, because I think the mentality is we can beat those guys.

Q. Coach Brey talked about when he played Tyler Lydon, maybe that being his breakout game. He said from the freshman year to the sophomore year is when you really see that jump. What have you seen out of Tyler so far?
JIM BOEHEIM: Well, he's bigger, he's stronger, he's lifted. He stayed up all summer, and he's probably 226. He played at 205 last year. So he's a much more physical player. He's probably improved his shooting a little bit in the off-season because he works at it so hard, but he definitely -- he's really the first player I've ever had that can play three positions. He can play the three, the four or the five. I've never -- I'm pretty sure I never had anybody that could do that.

Q. What do you think some of the advantages will be for you guys playing in the ACC Tournament at the Barclays Center, just going back to New York?
JIM BOEHEIM: You know, I don't think there's any advantage. I think it's just you've got to go play, and I think you get into the tournament situation, everybody is ready, everybody is good at that stage of the year. I just don't think there's that much of an advantage.

Q. Obviously every year is unique for you, your 41st season, but I asked Tyler with the cloud that's been over the program over the last couple years, do you feel like that's all gone now, and now you can just focus on playing basketball?
JIM BOEHEIM: All I ever do is focus on playing basketball. I never worry about the weather. I live in Syracuse.

Q. It was asked of Coach Hamilton what excites him about getting out of bed every day. Can you comment about your motivations?
JIM BOEHEIM: Well, just being able to is great. (Laughter).

Q. Kind of going off the depth a little bit more, maybe we will see a little bit more of the press this year, just with how many more guys you have that can push the pace?
JIM BOEHEIM: Yeah, I mean, we've always been a pressing team. I think it's harder when you have six guys or seven to be able to press during the season. I think also the college teams and college -- the coaches in our league are really good. It's hard to press people. Whenever you double the ball, there's somebody open, and teams are really almost too well-prepared and just too well-coached to press much. I think you can press a little bit. You might speed the game a little bit. But you're not going to turn really the good teams over.

You press the bad teams, you'll probably win by a few more points, but that's not what you want to get to. But we work on the press. You never know when you need it, and sometimes it is a difference. It was a difference last year in the tournament for us moving on or getting beat. We would have lost without the press against Gonzaga, and we would have lost against Virginia without the press.

We work on it every day for a reason, and sometimes it can be the difference in a game.

And we have more players, more depth, and we're bigger in the back. Whenever you press, you don't want to give up lay-ups. We have a guy back there who will make it hard to get a lay-up.

Q. When you came back from the Olympics, you said that kind of excited you. As you enter your 41st season now, what motivates you and what excites you about this basketball team?
JIM BOEHEIM: Every year, every team is new. The great thing about coaching is you have a new challenge every year, a new group, and you have to try to put them together and to get them to be successful. It never changes. It's new every year. It's why you just don't feel any different than you did when you were in your first year or your 20th year of coaching. Every year you go in -- can you do the same thing, can you get this team to get where they want to get to. That's the challenge. It's never changed. It's always been there, and that's what I do. That's what I like to do.

Q. A lot of people don't know that much about Andrew White. Can you talk about what type of a player he is?
JIM BOEHEIM: Yeah, Andrew White is a very good basketball player. He's a mature kid. He's 23 years old. They call him "Unc" on our team, Uncle Drew. Obviously he's a very, very good shooter, but he's a good player. He's a good defensive player. He can rebound. He's one of the better rebounders. I think he was the leading rebounder at Nebraska. But he's a good rebounder. He's a good defensive player. He's getting better at getting to the basket. You know, he came to Syracuse for a reason, to become a better player and to help us get someplace.

He's a very good player. Johnny Gillon is a very good player. He's an experienced guard who's very physical, very tough. He will remind people a little bit of Jonny Flynn. He can get to the basket, and he's a very strong kid.

These two guys have changed really the outlook for our basketball team. They're fifth-year players that are very experienced. You know, it's great to have these two guys. We're very happy to have them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #166 at 2016-10-26 19:56:00 GMT

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