Thursday, January 30, 2014

Boeheim jokes about food in the Carolinas, confirms ACC allegiance

Winston-Salem In his first trip to the Carolinas as a coach of an ACC team, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim just couldn’t help himself.

In 2011, Boeheim made a quip about the conference tournament being held in Greensboro, and last year the coach side-swiped Clemson with a comment about Denny’s restaurants in the town.

Wednesday after the Orange’s 67-57win at Wake Forest, Boeheim made another food comment, and this time he (perhaps jokingly) forgot what North Carolina city he was in.

“It’s amazing, I came here, I had the best Italian dinner last night and I thought during the game that was all I was going to get in Greensboro… Winston-Salem… wherever we are, Winston-Salem,” Boeheim said. “Best Italian dinner I’ve had in a long time and who would have thought it? Winston-Salem. I should name the restaurant but then I’d be in trouble. Simon’s the owner. It’s a little place. I didn’t even get the name of it.

“I tell it like it is. We have good restaurants, and I’ve had good food everywhere I’ve been in the south. I just make a joke and everyone thinks I mean it. You can’t make jokes anymore. At Clemson I had the best meal I’ve ever had on the road and last night was a New York City Italian dinner, it was that good. But really, we don’t go places for the food.”

Boeheim then launched into an unprompted defense of his allegiance to the ACC. Syracuse left the Big East and joined the ACC in 2013, and since then Boeheim has taken a handful of perceived slights at the league.

“I said from the beginning this is a great league, we’re happy to be in it,” he said. “The only thing, the only thing, that we miss would be the tournament being in New York City because that’s where all of our people are and it’s a great venue. But that’s one event. And we’ve lost there in the first round on more than one occasion. So that’s the only thing. This league is a tremendous league. It’s going to only get better and better with time. It’s a tremendous basketball league.”

Asked if he enjoyed coming to the Carolinas, the 38th-year coach gave a thoughtful response.

“You know, I mean, every game we’ve played since I’ve been coaching, before we were in the league and in the league, they’re all tough. It’s all tough basketball. Great crowds,” Boeheim said. “And I’ve played at N.C. State, and I’ve played Duke in Raleigh (as a player in 1966) and we’ve played in the south all my coaching career. There are great venues here and tough places, but it’s about the players and Lou Carnesecca told me those fans, they’re not scoring any points. Of course he had Chris Mullen and Walter Berry then so he wasn’t worried about anybody. Great venues, I think there’s a good side to it. Good teams, they get excited about it and ready to go and the crowd will get a good player going. And if you have bad players it doesn’t matter whether you have a good crowd or not. You got bad players you’re not going to win anyway.”

So far the Carolinas have been good to Boeheim. Of the 12,523 in attendance last night, at least 2,000 were dressed in orange.

“I was shocked,” he said. “In Florida we had about 4,000 but they all live down there, they’re all from Syracuse. I don’t know where these people honestly came from.”
--Jonathan Jones