Boeheim Sounds Off pt. 1

Coach Boeheim previews the upcoming season in the first of a three part exclusive for SyracuseInsiders.Com.

How has the first week gone after McNeil's mother's death?
It's a little different. We've obviously… the enthusiasm's good, which is should be at this time of year. We're not fortunate knowing what Jeremy has gone through. It's affected me, it's a difficult situation knowing his mother. She was a great lady and have him to go through this, it has been a difficult time for him. We're hopeful that we'll get him back, he's sick now, but we hope that sooner or later he'll be back.

How has the first week gone?
Everyone has worked hard, the first week has been good. We're impressed with their enthusiasm. I think we've improved our size, our physical strength is better this year, I think we're shooting the ball well as a team and our leadership has been good from Kueth. I think everyone else is aware that they need to be leaders as well. At this stage, everything has been good.

How much of a factor does experience play?
That's why Maryland won the championship last year because they have so many veteran players. We have two or three guys that have played or started last year and I think that helps us. I think our younger guys, our freshmen, are more mature than most freshmen. They've played more and have more basketball experience than most freshmen. I think they're well ahead of what I expect normal freshman to be.
We're not addressing the issue of being young. That's something that other people will address. I feel our young guys are mature. With any team, experience helps you in situations, there's no question about that. We just have to overcome our experience by playing a little better, a little harder. We'll see what happens.

How have you judged Anthony's performance so far?
Practice, I don't judge too much. He was rated No. 1 high school player in the country and I think that speaks for itself.

Who will be the leader of this team?
I think our senior leader will be Kueth. He's been vocal, spoken up. I've seen a lot of guys speak up at practice. That's a good sign. Any team, one leader isn't enough. Everyone has to have leadership ability. I think we've got a lot of guys the leader of their high school team. We look at our freshman and without question they were the leader of their high school teams. I think that will carry over here. Carmelo, Billy, Gerry all have those qualities. These guys all came from playing a lot of games in high school. National championships. State high school championships. They're talented guys have won and expect to win. I think that's all going to be positive this year.

How has Forth improved?
Craig is much stronger. He's put on 20 pounds. He's more patient inside. I see a definite physical improvement. He's really too hard on himself. That's always been the case. He's got to go easier on himself and let the game come to him. Just take the game a little easier. I have confidence in him. I have nothing but confidence in him.

How will this team adjust to the players that have left, notably DeShaun Williams?
I think that's college basketball. You look at most programs and you're going to lose one or two guys every year. (Williams) is an experienced player and he would be been very helpful. There's no question about that.

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