You know the old saying "there can only be one winner." Well, it fits better than any other slogan to describe the 2010-11 Syracuse basketball team. Marquette played spoiler and Syracuse packed its bags for Central New York instead of Newark, N.J. Now you turn on radio shows and the people are talking about Jim Boeheim being too old and the zone defense not being good. Then they ask why Mookie Jones and James Southerland don’t play more.
Here is a question for those of you that ask any of those questions. Are you insane? Have you ever watched a basketball game? Jim Boeheim hasn’t lost it. He is 85-23 in the last three years and 36-16 in the Big East. Add in two Sweet 16 appearances and that is about all you can ask for, especially when they had a potential Final Four team a year ago had the injury bug stayed away. If Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Ketia gave any inside presence who knows what would have happened. Marquette doubled and tripled Rick Jackson all game and with no other post player it cost the Orange, along with 18 turnovers.
As far as the 2-3 zone goes, how do you abandon a defense that no one else can play at the level Syracuse does? Sure, I can’t argue that it wasn’t as effective this year. But I will tell you that last year the zone was as dominant as ever and when you lose three key pieces to that success it takes a bit of time to fill the voids.
Next, Mookie Jones can shoot and that is it, period. The discussion stops there. If you have ever watched him play, he struggles on defense. He can’t pass and he gets up and down the court like an ogre. As for Southerland, sure he is athletic and occasionally can be hot from downtown, but so can a hotdog from a guy on the corner. He struggles to rebound because he doesn’t box out, and he is a defensive liability. You simply can’t play these guys if you want to compete.
Lastly, stop attacking Scoop. Sure he plays erratic and is inconsistent at times, but who outside of Rick Jackson wasn’t this year? I will wait until you come up with an answer. Looks like I will be waiting forever. Scoop was as valuable to the team as anyone else including Rick Jackson. Like it or not, he was the only point guard the entire season. If you’re thinking Waiters, think again. He had one solid game and it was the last one.
I understand no one wanted to see them lose but it happens. Only one team is going to cut the nets down in Houston. This year’s Orange had a solid year for what they lost. Keep that in mind when you call for the coach’s head.