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Jared Fialko

Bedlam, Boeheim, and Operation Basketball

Posted October 16, 2013
Updated October 17, 2013

Eight hours, a solid day's worth, of questions and answers. Safe to say, Operation Basketball is exhausting.

That's just from our standpoint, so I cannot even begin to fathom how painstaking the process is for the other half. In 11-to-15 minute intervals, players and coaches get chauffeured around the Ritz-Carlton from one station to another to repeat the chit-chat process.

Start with the local and regional media in one room. Then, hightail it across the hallway to the ACC Network peeps. Then, the Comcast crew. Followed by the ACC Digital Network. Next stop? Fox Sports. After that, Fox Sports again? Nope, Fox Sports 1, different entity, same song and dance. Are we done now? Wait, one more, off to radio row. So, who could blame Leonard Hamilton, Mark Turgeon, Brad Brownell and company if they wanted to make like a tree and get out of Charlotte.

Little surprise as to who the celebrity of Operation Basketball turned out to be. The second-winningest men's Division I college basketball coach of all-time, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim. The hoops mainstay of the "Salt City" isn't exactly a local media darling, as those in Central New York may tell you. He's provided many a memorable press conference during his 37-year stretch, and he's not afraid to drop a few F-bombs. My favorite, of course, coming just before the Big East Tournament in 2006 when he went to bat, profanities in hand, for his senior point guard, Gerry McNamara.  He's also let the national fellas have it from time to time, too.

In his defense, I can tell you that after spending four years on campus at Syracuse University, seasonal affective disorder is legit, and who wouldn't be a tad grumpy at times after not seeing the sun for weeks at a time!

That Boeheim did not show up on Wednesday in Charlotte. The Orange icon, who's churned out 920 wins and four trips to the Final Four, puts on his best face and played along, probably swallowing a few, "that was a stupid question" remarks along the way. In fact, when someone asked him about possibly pairing Trevor Cooney alongside a freshman point guard in his backcourt, Boeheim responded, "that's the first basketball question I've been asked all day. And it only took five hours!" Even his old friends/new league mates were excited to see him.

"I'm glad to see him because he's one of the few coaches older than me," laughed UNC head coach Roy Williams.

For Roy, attending a media event with the man he's worked alongside with USA Basketball and other various projects at an ACC event was a day he never saw coming. He'd wager money on that. In fact, he did. "I made a $5 dollar bet with someone here two years ago that Jim would never coach an ACC game. So, I owe someone $5 dollars, but it was so long ago, I can't remember who it was. All I know is that it's none of you rascals!"

Of course, no one outside of wife, Julie, may know the man better than the only guy who can claim record book superiority over Boeheim. The relationship between Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Boeheim is well-documented, and finally, this season the two will get to go head to head. In true Krzyzewski fashion, he deflected a question about whether he was looking forward to the upcoming potentially record attendance-shattering matchup between his Devils and the Orange at the Carrier Dome as a chance to prove "who's better."

"We're best friends," Krzyzewski said, which explains why the nonconference matchup never came to fruition. "We've known each other for decades, and the last eight years we've done some really neat things together for USA Basketball."

On Feb. 1, 2014 when friendship is set aside for 40 minutes of play, it'll be in front of a mass of humanity. Just a couple of hours before Krzyzewski took to the podium in Charlotte, Syracuse announced that it sold out its allotment of single-game tickets for the clash of the coaching titans.

A stub so popular, that SU tinkered with the possibility of moving Jim Boeheim Court to the center of the Carrier Dome, making a much wider audience available. The venue already holds the record for the largest attended on-campus game, when 35,012 flooded the Onondaga County facility to watch the final regular season rivalry game between the Orange and longtime Big East rivals, Georgetown.

That mark may or may not be matched, and some of the deciding folks may in fact be, in a hint of irony, the media! Anyone, who can score a press pass (and believe me, much to our disgust, there are sometimes several folks who don press passes and do nothing but take up space) will try to squeeze in, and the administration has to put us somewhere. A hoops hoopla that may be a spectacle like we've never seen? Krzyzewski speaks of it with the fervor of a trip to the dentist's office.

"Whatever happens on the court, we know that every time we get to coach against each other, it'll be an historic event. I'm sure that we will handle that in a way that will be good for the game," he said.

Other highlights from Wednesday's breakfast-to-dinner session:

Whenever the response from a student-athlete, much less a coach is, "I know you guys have to ask about it, but..." you know they are sick of the question.

Such was life for Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson Wednesday. While they remain fiercely loyal to their teammate, it's clear they've about had it with the constant inquiries about P.J. Hairston. Williams has cleverly come up with the best response to the follow-up's on the junior from Greensboro's pending availability.

"He's inactive. That's my Bill Belichick response," Williams said. Thankfully for us, that was the only hint he took from the ultimate press conference stone-waller, when it comes to media relations.

Even Mark Gottfried can smile when asked whether or not the only reason he brought Tyler Lewis and T.J. Warren to Charlotte was because everyone else would've needed a nametag.

For someone whose name constantly seems to be on the hot seat, Jeff Bzdelik is "surprisingly relaxed" according to his Demon Deacon players. That may have something to do with the fact that his rather large freshmen class is now a rather large group of sophomores.

"Seven freshmen will make you grumpy," says Travis McKie. "It made me grumpy!"

Currently listening to: Laidback Luke ft. Steve Aoki and Lil Jon, "Turbulence."

2 Comments

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  • blynch7 Oct 17, 7:44 p.m.

    Thanks Jared, this is a good column. On Tues., I heard Roy say that the ACC has been the strongest Bball conf. for 60 years with an occassional other conf. stepping up. Now, no one else will step up. Several mos. ago Boeheim said it was a sad day when the greatest basketball conf.(BE) in history, has come to an end. Love to hear your comment on this or better yet, ask Roy and Jim if they wish to repeat or expand on those remarks. Jim might comment, Roy, never. Also tell Roy and others that 2 teams do not a Conference make.

  • ezme22 Oct 17, 10:23 a.m.

    mooers never win

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Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
2nd
UNCW 59
ECU 49
 
2nd Intermission
CAR 1
NYR 0
 
4th
CHA 86
UTA 74
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
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POR 94
 
4th
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UTA 74
 
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HOU 31
ATL 43
 
1st
DAL 13
SAN 13
 
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IND
10:30pm Tonight
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UTST 21
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UTAH 45
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WMICH 17
 
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
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WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
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CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
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FD 76
DEL 74
 
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PSU 73
DREX 68
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UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
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ILL 62
MIZZ 59
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CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
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LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
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HOU 63
SCST 71
 
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FSU 75
SFLA 62
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BING 51
BONA 69
 
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RFLSH 73
 
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TOL 83
 
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TRUETT 55
 
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VANDY 60
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EILL 60
 
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IND 82
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STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
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OREG 83
DELST 70
 
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Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
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TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
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KU 96
LAF 69
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ARKST 67
MARS 58
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MEM 78
ORU 63
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KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
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MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
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CHIST 77
STJOE 54
 
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KENT 83
UCLA 44
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COC 68
DAVID 80
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RIU 69
DET 55
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UCR 78
HOUB 67
 
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MURST 89
ILLST 77
 
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NWST 89
LALAF 85
 
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WAGN 66
MON 74
 
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MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
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PITT 81
OU 77
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TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
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WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
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AFA 75
UCD 81
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MSST 51
USCU 53
 
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JMU 71
HIGH 80
 
Final
TXST 90
HTILL 56
 
Final
DRAK 54
ISU 83
Final
SHU 73
UNH 60
 
Final
SCU 72
NE 78
 
Final
MSU 64
TXSOU 71
Final
UF 63
WAKE 50
Final
ND 94
PURD 63
Final
SHSU 61
PVU 44
 
Final
AUB 89
XAV 88
 
2nd
AKR 92
BLUFFTON 53
 
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DAY 64
BU 55
 
2nd
UNCW 59
ECU 49
 
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CLMB 75
HOF 71
 
2nd
GMAS 70
IONA 62
 
2nd
TOWS 43
LAS 58
 
2nd
MAN 70
MRGST 68
 
2nd
CCST 74
YALE 83
 
2nd
PEPP 54
RICH 60
 
Final
MAR 58
STJOE 75
 
2nd
KYST 61
TEXAM 52
 
Final
MAST 72
VALPO 75
 
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UMKC 63
INCWORD 62
 
2nd
IDST 45
CALST 48
 
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NIOWA 36
IOWA 32
 
2nd
SIUE 31
UWMIL 35
 
1st
TEX 37
LBSU 29
 
Half
TCU 43
TXSA 26
 
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ARK 18
SEMIZ 10
 
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BYU
STAN
11:30pm Tonight
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UTAH
Final
LOS 4
ARI 2
2nd Intermission
CLB 1
CHI 1
 
2nd Intermission
BUF 0
COL 2
 
2nd
PIT 2
FLA 1
 
2nd Intermission
CAR 1
NYR 0
 
2nd Intermission
MON 2
OTT 1
 
2nd Intermission
TOR 3
PHI 5
 
2nd Intermission
NYI 0
TAM 0
 
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NJD 0
WAS 2
 
1st Intermission
MIN 2
NAS 3
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
Final
WAS 27
PHI 24
1st
SFX 7
SDC 0