The headline on Syracuse forward Kris Joseph's twitter page reads, "All I'm trying to do is make it." Whether or not he will 'make it' is a topic for another day. Today, all Joseph's coach Jim Boeheim is interested in is Kris making an open shot.
The Orange coach has always been known for his ornery post-game monologues, and his five-minute rant after Syracuse's lackluster effort Tuesday night against Detroit was great sound (if you're into post-game coaching rants and all that). If you're too impatient to let the video load and listen for yourself, here are a three quick-hitters from the press conference that should get you caught up on the good and the bad right now at Syracuse.
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Jim said, "You're in college. You've got a scholarship. They don't guard you. You've gotta be able to make that shot."
- He might as well have been holding up a sign that said "I'm talking to you Kris" because that's exactly who he was trying to fire up. Last year's Big East Sixth Man of the Year, Joseph was pinned as a pre-season Wooden Award candidate and he's been hyped as a possible lottery pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. But in three games this year, he's shooting 26% from the field including a wretched 18% from beyond the arc. Kris Joseph's potential is not the question. What remains to be seen is if he can accept his new role as a go-to scorer, and actually score.
Jim said, "When you start aiming it (the ball), and can't get it to the rim, then you're not a college basketball player. We've got some guys who gotta figure out whether they are or aren't real quick because we don't have a lot of time."
- Newcomer Dion Waiters and sophomore James Southerland were expected to be three-point threats coming off the bench. Hopes were that they could fill a key role that Andy Rautins did as a sophomore in providing consistent long-range shooting which helps bust up zone defenses. Boeheim added, "The two 'great' shooters are two for twenty-two. Would you please explain to me why they are 'great' shooters?" Teams know they won't be able to stop Brandon Triche, Scoop Jardine, and Kris Joseph from getting to the bucket with the bounce, so the Orange should see a lot of zone looks this year...If Waiters and Southerland aren't hitting, 'Cuse looks very beatable.
Jim said, "I think if you just take the second halves that we play, then we're not overrated."
- A witty jab at himself for calling the Orange "the most overrated team I've ever had" one game earlier---but he actually makes a fair point. Syracuse is outscoring opponents 80-77 in the first half, and 140-91 in the second half. Boeheim mentioned at the end of his press conference that against good teams, they would be down by fifteen points at half if they played the way were playing. No offense to Northern Iowa, Canisius, or Detroit, of course.
Through the years, Jim has been a master at finding his team's identity and strength and then building around that. So far this year they have neither an identity nor a real identifiable strength. With conference play just over one month away, Boeheim knows the time to break his team down is now, but how he will build this group back up remains to be seen.