Coach Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University is one of the greatest college basketball coaches in history. This season he won his 900th game, only the third college coach ever to do so. Soon after, he passed Bobby Knight to become Number 2 all time. The most amazing part is that he won all of his games at the same college.
My father, former NBA player Danny Schayes, played at Syracuse at the beginning of Boeheim’s coaching career. I have been able to spend a lot of time with Coach Boeheim, going to practices, meeting the players, and playing at his summer basketball camp.
I had the fun opportunity to interview him this fall and he gave me some really cool thoughts. I asked him about his time growing up and he shared how he got so competitive. He told me that he used to play games (like cards and pool) with his father and it was always important to win! His father NEVER let him win. He had to EARN it. He learned from those times to be a fierce competitor as both a player, and later as a coach. I also asked him what he thought about all of the stuff kids have today, like video games, play dates and other activities. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on sports with all of this other stuff to do. He said something that really made me think. He said to remember that when you are playing video games, some other kid is out practicing basketball. So if you spend too much time on video games instead of practicing, when you get to high school, don’t be surprised if you are in the stands watching that other kid play on the team! You might be a better video game player, but he will be a better basketball player. WOW!
My dad and I just watched Number 6 Syracuse upset top-ranked Louisville in the most exciting game that I have seen in a long time. We yelled at the TV when Syracuse made three bad plays in a row and we thought that they were going to lose. Luckily, Louisville returned the favor by also making mistakes. (I haven’t seen this exciting of a game since I was in Little League). I was really surprised at how calm Coach Boeheim was when Syracuse was behind in the last 30 seconds. Remember, there were more than 20,000 Louisville fans screaming at him the whole time. But when they pulled it out I jumped all over the place, spun around in circles and tripped over he cat falling on my face!
I hope that the Orange go on to win the Big East Tournament and finish Number 1, destroying every competitor in their path that is a threat.