What’s Up With Syracuse Basketball, Magic 8-Ball?


ISLA DE MUJERES, MEXICO–It hasn’t been a good week for Syracuse, even here in Mexico.

First, a loud, drunken, and inappropriate traveler from Syracuse (proudly toting his S.U. carry-on) was escorted from our plane by Cancun authorities.

Then, the news reached us here about the announced resignations of athletic director Daryl Gross (today) and head basketball coach Jim Boeheim (in three years.)

Fans all over Central New York must be rummaging through closets for their Magic 8-Balls for answers to all sorts of questions related to their favorite local sports franchises. Let me save them the trouble. I bought one at a gift shop here in Mexico (150 pesos) and came up with responses to the questions on everyone’s minds.

When Daryl Gross was asked whether his resignation was related to the NCAA penalties, and he said “that’s totally inaccurate,” was he lying?

M8B: “As I see it, yes.”

Purely an opinion by the oversized billiards ball, but probably dead-on. Unless Gross had another job already lined up and announces it shortly. But don’t hold your breath on that.

Will Mike Hopkins wait around for his boss to retire in three years?

M8B: “Reply hazy try again.”

Of course. A lot will transpire–a new A.D. will be hired and assess Hop, other suitors will surely come calling on one of college basketball’s top assistants, Boeheim could change his mind and decide to shoot for 1000 wins.

No wonder the 8-Ball is unclear on that one.

Will the Orange be able to return to prominence atop college basketball’s elite during this upcoming probationary stretch?

M8B: “Don’t count on it.”

If history is any guide, many programs have struggled to come back quickly under similar circumstances. With fewer scholarships to offer recruits, it will be a challenge.

On one hand, it takes just one stellar player to make an impact in hoops. But sometimes it’s those OTHER guys–the Hakim Warricks, and Josh Paces, and Jeremy McNeills. The guys who aren’t as highly touted as a Carmelo Anthony. The guys who stick around and develop for a few years before they pay dividends.

With less scholarships to offer overall, there will be fewer guys like that practicing at the Melo Center, and getting ready for prime time minutes. Thanks to the NCAA’s punishment, Syracuse might not get the chance to successfully recruit the next Gerry McNamara any time soon.

Depth will certainly be an issue; it’s not like Syracuse ever attracted a half dozen or more McDonald’s All-Americans each year, like Duke or Kentucky.

Will the trend toward odd uniforms continue at Syracuse?

M8B: “Most likely.”

Sure, as long as Nike is lining the coffers and therefore calling the shots. Although, Syracuse chancellor Kent Syverud is the wild card when it comes to this issue, and others.

Syverud is an educator who seems clearly hurt by this whole scandal, and bent on returning athletics to its proper place in his vision of academia. He’s a traditionalist. And that may very well impact everything from the type of A.D. who oversees the Orange athletic empire, to what style uniforms Syracuse displays to the world in an attempt to rectify its image.

Of course Syverud could turn some of this into a money-making venture, as I wrote in a previous post.

Do you disagree with the Magic 8-Ball? Why or why not? Let me know in the comment section.

Dave Coombs is a longtime morning radio host, and last owned a Magic 8-Ball in 1972.

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