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As A New Era Dawns For Syracuse, Is Adrian Autry Ready?

Basketball without Jim Boeheim is hard to imagine at Syracuse

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NCAA Basketball: Syracuse Head Coach Introductory Press Conference
 Mar 10, 2023; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Adrian Autry gestures during a press conference at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. 
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

By the end of last season, everyone pretty much agreed: it was time - past time, really - for Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim to retire.

No one doubted his accomplishments. This is a phenomenal way to frame that: Boeheim, as a player, an assistant or head coach, was involved in all but one of Syracuse’s 47 NCAA appearances.

That seems nearly impossible but there you go.

Still, it was clear that his program had gotten musty and in the end, Boehiem knew it was time.

His replacement is former Syracuse star and Boeheim assistant Adrian Autry.

So what do we need to know?

Well, the first question is inevitable: keeping the 2-3, Adrian? A local reporter actually asked if “we” are keeping it.

Apparently not.

Autry told the Athletic this: “You want to be balanced, obviously, but I think we’ll lean heavily on man-to-man. When those guys are so extended because guys can shoot so far, it just opens the court up. When they get it into the middle part of your zone, you wind up playing three-on-three, but three-on-three with someone kind of coming down in rotation, so they’ve got a little bit of advantage.”

It gave Boeheim’s teams a puncher’s chance, but when you have guys who are taking 30-35 footers, well, as Autry implies, adapt or die.

Even Boeheim agrees.

So that’s probably a plus.

There’s another critical question that will take some time to figure out: is Autry going to be able to recruit well enough to make Syracuse relevant again?

Time will tell.

Boeheim took Syracuse recruiting to an amazing level in the Big East days, especially the early days. He had amazing talents like Pearl Washington, Derrick Coleman and Rony Seikaly and later, Carmelo Anthony, who led Syracuse to its first, and only, national title.

But in recent years, the flow of talent has dried up. Joe Girard was a classic example. A smallish guard, he just destroyed the New York State high school scoring record. Just lapped it.

But at Syracuse, he was inconsistent and his size became an issue (we’ll see how he does in his final year, which he’s taking at Clemson).

Where would the ‘Cuse have been recently if Boeheim hadn’t seen son Buddy turn into a really good college player?

Some of those earlier star players may have had, uh, incentives to spend several winters in Syracuse. It was certainly rumored.

Today though, NIL makes that approach pointless, yet when Jesse Edwards decamped for West Virginia, he implied that Syracuse was not taking NIL seriously.

Presumably that will change with Autry. It really has to if Syracuse wants to keep up.

Because even the best players, as we learned during Bob Knight’s slow collapse at Indiana, even the most brilliant coaches can’t get anything done without talent.

So can Autry succeed there? We think he can. For everyone else’s sake in the ACC, we hope so.

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