The 10 Biggest CBB Stories Of 2012 — #6: Jim Boeheim’s 900th WinPosted by Chris Johnson on December 29th, 2012
Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn.
College basketball gave us plenty of memorable moments and stories in 2012. After sorting through the main headlines, we’ve come up with the 10 most consequential items and, for the sake of maintaining publishing sequence symmetry, releasing two per-day over the next five days to lead into the New Year. It was an excellent year for the sport, though I can’t promise you won’t regret reliving at least one or two of the choices. In any case, here’s to summing up a great year and to hoping that 2013 is better than the 365 days that preceded it.
I could rattle off the statistical highlights, or harp on the timeless value of Boeheim’s trademark zone defense, his ability to lure NBA talent to a (let’s be kind) rural locale and chilly climate. But I’d much rather share with you a short exchange that illustrates what makes Boeheim one of the sport’s all-time greats. Moments after his team lost an uncharacteristic non-conference game at Madison Square Garden, esteemed ESPN writer Dana O’Neil asked Boeheim about the deliberate and calculated offensive performance of Temple guard Khalif Wyatt, who scored 33 points in the upset. Boeheim turned towards O’Neill, paused and offered this retort: “That’s how he always plays. I didn’t notice anything.” O’Neil didn’t back down, and Boeheim brushed off her ensuing inquiries with a firm dissatisfaction.
Five days after Boeheim’s then No. 3-ranked team survived a valiant second-half comeback effort at the Carrier Dome from visiting Detroit to seal his 900th win, after cementing his name among the very best coaches to ever step on a college sideline, Boeheim was furious, and he wanted nothing less than to talk about the tremendous effort that felled his previously undefeated squad. It is that unwavering dedication, that stern focus on the task at hand, on the next game, that has driven Boeheim to such historic heights. From the moment he stepped on campus as an undergraduate student and walk-on player, to his elevation to a graduate assistant position, to his eventual assumption of the head coaching job, Boeheim has remained true the university he calls home – the length of his tenure, and the persistence and painstaking dedication exhibited throughout, are living proofs.
Though the overwhelming reaction to Boeheim’s achievement was one of positivity and celebratory respect, several noted pundits were quick to point out Boeheim’s inchoate postseason track record. Quick as we are to rank and assess players and coaches’ historic stature in their respective sports, the final book on Boeheim is incomplete. The man’s still humming along, and the general feeling is that he’s not ready to call it quits any time soon.