Atlantic Coast Conference Operation Basketball

Wednesday October 25, 2017

Jim Boeheim

Syracuse Orange

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Jim Boeheim from Syracuse.

Q. Frank Howard has talked a lot about a new era, new chapter for him. Just what you can say you've seen from him and he's really spoken about confidence and how he's grown there. Have you seen that?
COACH BOEHEIM: Yeah, I think that Frank is a player that I kind of compare to Scoop Jardine who struggled his first couple of years and then he had two great years for us and took us to the tournament and to a lot of wins.

I think Frank struggled a little bit in his first two years. He's shown signs of what he could do, actually more signs than Scoop did at the same time. So I think Frank's ready. I think he'll have a good year this year. Very confident in him.

Q. How strange is it going to be for you to look over on the Louisville sideline this year and not see Rick Pitino there?
COACH BOEHEIM: It will be difficult. Obviously as everybody knows, first guy I hired in coaching when I got the head coaching job. And we've been friends for 40 years.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for him. I think he's one of the all-time great coaches in college basketball. He's as good as anybody I've ever coached against. And the game will miss him and what he brings to the game.

Q. Somebody earlier asked Ty Battle is it borrowing practicing the 2-3 zone all the time. Ty actually referred to the idea that you've been practicing some man-to-man, so we might see that this year.
COACH BOEHEIM: Yeah, we might. (Laughter) anything's possible in this world. As far as it being boring, one of the things that people have not quite grasped yet -- I've talked about it -- but it's much easier to teach zone defense than it is man-to-man. Everybody thinks that it's hard to learn that.

I can teach it to a high school team, junior high school team in about two hours. So I hope I can teach it to our guys in four weeks or so.

But man-to-man is much more complicated, much harder to learn, many more different types of ways you play pick and rolls. There's six different ways to play a pick and roll and different ways to switch, not switch.

There's so many different parts to man-to-man. Much harder to teach, much harder to learn. Much easier to learn how to play a zone. And our zone's a little more complex, so it takes a little bit more than a couple of days, but not that much longer.

Q. What made Geno Thorpe an attractive player for you to pursue as a grad transfer? And what have you seen from him so far?
COACH BOEHEIM: We really looked at that position. We had three guards coming back, two with experience and a freshman. So you know if you have one guy hurt you can't really -- you really can't complete a season. So we knew we had to get a guard. With Geno, we found a guy that can play the point and play the 2.

So that was a big part of the decision to go after him. He's a much better defensive player than I knew going in. I knew he could score. But he's been a very good defensive player in practice in both man-to-man and zone.

He's been a good guy to have on our team. He's been a very positive influence. He's missed about the last eight days with an ankle sprain. We hope to get him back tomorrow. But he's been really a nice addition to our team.

And the difference for our team is we have more experience in the back court with him and Frank and Tyus starting every game last year. And that really is one of the strengths of our basketball team.

Q. Tyus Battle and Frank Howard both confirmed that they think the team is underestimated as a whole going into the season. Would you agree with that? And what aspects of your team's game will surprise those that underestimate them?
COACH BOEHEIM: I hope that every player on every team that's picked below 1st in the league thinks they're underestimated. We all want to be the best team. And I want our players to think that way.

And so that's good. I'm glad they're thinking that way. I don't pick where our team is going to be. I think we have the potential to be a good basketball team. I think we can definitely be better defensively than last year. We were kind of middle of the league type of defensive team. We're used to being in the top two or three teams defensively. So we think we can be better defensively.

Offensively we lost a lot of weapons. We were a really good offensive team last year particularly in the league. But we need to get better in that area to be a good team. But I think defensively we have a chance to be a much better team.

Q. You bring Frank and Tyus down here. What sort of leadership have you seen from them in practice and how have they been sort of directing some of those new faces on the team?
COACH BOEHEIM: I think they've been really good. I think when you have freshmen and sophomores on the front line -- if you're going to have an experienced part of your team, back court or front court, obviously it's better in both, but if you have back court experience, I think that's better.

But they've been good. They've really set a good example. We have a good group. We have guys that are doing what they need to do every day.

I think the pivotal thing for this team is our four freshmen came in for the whole summer, which we don't usually ask -- we don't ask freshmen to do that. We don't expect them to do that.

But they came in for the whole summer. And I think it really helped them -- I think they're much further along than they normally, you would expect freshmen to be. And I think that will be important for our team.

But Frank and Tyus have been very good every day in terms of the leadership of our basketball team.

Q. Frank said earlier today that he believes the team will run through Tyus Battle. Could you talk about the importance of Tyus on this team and as a leader?
COACH BOEHEIM: He's very important. No question about that. But I think to have a good offensive basketball team you've got to have balance, you've got to have at least three guys that can score consistently. And you have to get contribution from whatever two other guys are out there in some way, shape or form. But certainly Tyus is going to be a key guy for us.

Q. How much has your routine changed without Mike Hopkins there?
COACH BOEHEIM: It's interesting. Mike was with me for a long time. And I've been very fortunate through the years, starting out with Rick Pitino, and I've had so many great assistant coaches. And Mike's certainly one of the best I've had, I think.

But the way we recruit, each assistant takes a group. So one guy doesn't do it all or oversee it. So it didn't change really our recruiting at all, because Adrian had been doing it and Gerry had been doing it. So we had two experienced guys who had their areas.

And then Allen came in and Allen recruited for the last six years in college. So we have three experienced recruiters, and that's what I'm concerned most about as a coach.

Then in our practice times, Mike worked with the centers, but Adrian worked with the forwards and Gerry worked with the guards. So none of that ever changed. Mike had his compartment, and Allen and I have been kind of working with the big guys a little bit together because we have two young big guys.

So that didn't change too much. Obviously our defense isn't changing. And I've always coached the offense. So we really don't have a lot of change. And I think that assistant -- we've been very fortunate to keep so much continuity with our assistants over the years. And I think it's really helped our preparation, our recruiting.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #188 at 2017-10-25 19:33:00 GMT

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