Syracuse basketball has been a part of my life ever since I was a kid. My parents used to bring me to games every year, which developed my love for the game of basketball. Having the ability to attend local games for a talented team is something that many people take for granted. Now, my father and I have season tickets to Syracuse basketball. We believe that Syracuse are potentially the greatest college basketball program in the country. But what about John Calipari and Kentucky with all of their NBA prospects? What about Duke and Coach K? Nope. Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange are the greatest college basketball program in the country.
The Syracuse Orange are almost always in the NCAA tournament despite not having super star caliber talent. As we all know, its not only important to make the tournament. What is truly important is what you do once you get to the NCAA tournament. They have made the final 4 six times, and were tournament champions in 2003. The most recent final 4 appearance was this past year which had them as a 10 seed. They had to beat teams like Dayton, Gonzaga, and number 1 seed Virginia. Syracuse were not favored in any of these games. The most impressive part about this past years performance is that our best player was a rookie named Malachi Richardson. Who? The freshman that only averaged 13.4 points per game? Yes, that guy. Without his spectacular tournament performance, the team would have been forced to rely on seniors Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinijie who aren’t bad, but aren’t the type of players that lead a team past the sweet 16. Syracuse led all of college basketball in attendance for 2014 and 2015, and was 2nd in 2016 in which the average attendance was 21,592. The local area has a lot of loyalty to this team. Syracuse has produced many NBA players, but the biggest player to ever come out of ‘cuse as we all know, is Carmelo Anthony. Now I could go on and on about the players that attended Syracuse that went on to play in the NBA, but what is more impressive is the lack of big name players that they’ve had.
Syracuse have repeatedly made it deep into the NCAA tournament without big name players. This speaks wildly about how talented Jim Boeheim is as a coach. Boeheim has a career record of 888–347 (.719) which is 9th all time. Boeheim has been named Big East coach of the year four times, and has been named District II Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches ten times. Boeheim has also been a coach for the USA national team. One thing that is very impressive about Boeheim’s coaching ability is that he plays zone defense. Syracuse is well known for playing this style of defense, but it is extremely hard to teach because players usually grow up playing man to man defense.
Coach Boeheim is able to take players that aren’t well known, teach them an entirely new system of defense, and take them to the NCAA tournament year after year. Syracuse fans continue to come to games every year, making Syracuse one of the most attended college teams in the country each year. The fans dedication to this team combined with Boeheim’s ability to produce successful teams make Syracuse arguably the best College basketball program in the country.