Jim Boeheim talks NIL, transfer portal and Syracuse recruiting backup center


Syracuse Orange’s men’s basketball program is well into the offseason at this point, but on Wednesday Jim Boeheim appeared on Eric Devendorf’s show on Cuse Sports Talk to lightheartedly discuss a mix of topics, including the inexact science of recruiting rankings, name, image and likeness (NIL), the transfer portal and how Syracuse is still looking for a backup center, among other topics.

Much ink has been spilled this offseason on NIL in the world of college basketball as players like Oscar Twishbe can expect to earn over $2 million at Kentucky this coming season and North Carolina’s Armando Bacot should appear in the Netflix series Outer Banks. With the addition of the Transfer Portal and Agent Representation, there may have been some unintended consequences of NIL, such as players entering the Transfer Portal with new NIL offers in hand from boosters representing other programs, encouraging them to transfer.

Without a central governing body to regulate the nascent nature of NIL, the practice has metastasized into an anarchic system that is more like a pay game. There won’t be much sympathy for millionaire college basketball coaches and it’s not that simple, but the above has put them in a precarious position: do you allow boosters to engage in the payment for play while risking potential penalties down the road, or are you trying to play by the rules and risk losing top talent?

Granted, NIL is an advantage for college athletes and that shouldn’t lead to nostalgia for the past, but in the absence of a regulatory body, caps on what players can earn, or a trained collective ( or players being allowed to be paid directly by their schools), boosters are free to navigate this nascent laissez-faire market and manipulate the gray area in pay-for-play.

Boeheim touched on some of that and what Syracuse did and didn’t do in the NIL space.

Name, Image and Likeness and Its Role in the Transference Portal

“The bad thing about the portal is they’re older guys with agents and they basically get paid to play at the school they go to. They get NIL offers before they get there. It’s not possible unless it is put in place,” Boeheim said.

“When you come in knowing you’re getting $400,000 from one place for a few messages in your [social media]. This is obviously not real NIL. It’s paying. It’s someone who pays you to go to their school. That’s what happened in the portal and it will continue to happen. You’re going to form these collectives and people are going to just go up to the players and say, “Here’s your money. You have to do this.’ This is not what NIL was hoping for,” Boeheim continued.

On the Syracuse team, Buddy Boeheim was one of the first athletes to take advantage of NIL and he did so through local brands or Syracuse University-related businesses. He also sold his Syracuse apparel through the Players Trunk.

“I think Buddy’s jersey sold for – he had several jerseys to be here four years – but he probably made $10,000 with jerseys. At the Gala, we sold one of his jerseys for $2,800,” Jim Boeheim said.

Backup Center

Syracuse reserve Frank Anselem entered the transfer portal and has since committed to Georgia. That leaves the Orange with no obvious backup center behind Jesse Edwards for 2022-23.

“I can’t allow the program to go until next year, for example, without a rescue center. We don’t have any,” Boeheim said.

The Orange recruited Syracuse native Quincy Ballard after announcing his transfer from Florida State. But the big man ultimately chose Wichita State over Syracuse. Asked about the difficulty of recruiting a save center in the transfer portal when most players entering the portal want to start, Boeheim expressed the difficulty there.

“Almost impossible,” he began. “We lost a few guys in the portal because of this. We actually have a good situation for a young developing centre. Come every day and play against Jesse, it will be good. Jesse has big problems. Jesse played 27 minutes per game here. So a save center – which is really a save, not quite ready – is a perfect situation for him. Play 10-15 minutes per game, learn how to improve. If Jesse has a good year, he can leave and now you can be a starter.

Others are interesting:

  • On man-to-man defense (as well as the 2-3 zone) in 2022-23

Boeheim believes the man-to-man defense will give Syracuse more flexibility this coming season and added that teams have improved against areas in recent years.

“I think next year we’re going to put the man-to-man fight back,” Boeheim said. “We will work on it. You have to work on it to use it. We will probably spend a little more time training to prepare for it. I don’t know if we’ll play it a lot or a little or all the time. But we will integrate it, have it as a weapon.

  • On that 2009-10 Syracuse team that was ranked No. 1 and seeded No. 1 in the NCAA Tournament but lost Arinze Onuaku to injury

“That team would have gone to the Final Four for sure. And Duke won it that year and it was not a good Duke team. I think we would have had a good chance,” Boeheim said. We made Brad Stevens’ career.”

“I probably went a bit too far. We probably would have won ten games without Gerry, but not much more,” Boeheim joked.

  • By winning the 2003 national championship

“Winning a national championship is something you never forget. You never forget it. This will be the last basketball thought I will ever have.

Boeheim ends the chat by saying “I need to take a call from my recruiting coach… What’s up Gerry?”

You can watch the hour-long show below on Cuse Sports Talk:


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