Coach Boeheim Previews Season Pt. 3

Boeheim speaks to SyracuseInsiders.Com about the upcoming season in the final installment of a three part series.

(EXCITEMENT FOR SEASON)
I'm excited every year, but obviously when you have so many young guys coming in that are talented kids, that's something I hope people are excited about. I think they should be.

(LOSING PRESTON)
Preston was a great player. If he hadn't gotten hurt last year, we would be talking about a team that had a great year. I'm firmly convinced that we would have been an NCAA team and won 22, 23 games in the regular season. We had a lot of deficiencies last year — Craig and Hakim were not ready to play. We had three guys that were ready to play, and DeShaun went into a nosedive shooting the basketball the last 14 games. And Preston, considering the way defenses played him, he had an unbelievable year, and if he hadn't gotten hurt, it would have been an even better year.

(WHO WILL TAKE THE KEY SHOT?)
I think we've got guys who can shoot the ball. Carmelo can shoot the ball and Gerry can shoot the ball. Kueth is shooting it better than I've ever seen him shoot it. He's probably improved his shooting as much in a one year period as you could ever expect from a guy. He's always improved a little bit each year, but this year it's been a bigger jump than before. His shooting is very good. I'd say he's a very good shooter now.

(HOW ABOUT WILLIAMS LEAVING?)
DeShaun's suspension was nothing — we won all three games and he was back, so that had no bearing. Billy was suspended before the season started, so that had nothing to do with the season. Those things only bother me for the length of time that they bother the team.

(PACE)
I think he's really played well in practices. He's definitely improved. He does a lot of little things. He's not a great shooter, but you don't have to be a great shooter. There's room for a lot of guys that don't shoot the basketball. Stevie Thompson is one of the best players that ever played year, and I'd say Josh is a little better player than Stevie. Josh has a lot of the attributes that Stevie had, and I think he can be a very productive player for us.

(WHO WILL PLAY PG IF EDELIN IS SUSPENDED?)
We have a couple walk-ons that are interesting. They know are system pretty well and could probably play (the point) for a couple minutes. But Gerry is a naturally point guard.

(POTENTIAL OF GUYS LEAVING EARLY)
I hope it goes that good for them, because if it does, that means we'll be winning a lot of games. If that happens, we'll face it when the time comes. I wouldn't worry about it I were you. I don't think anything is imminent. At least I know they're not leaving this week.

(WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?)
We have the same goal every year. Play the best we can, be the best we can. I measure it by how good we do compared to what I think we should do.

(THE BIG EAST)
I think the league is probably a little better than it's been. I think Pittsburgh is a top-5 team, Connecticut is a top-10 team. Notre Dame, Georgetown, Boston College and us have a chance to be top-20, top-25 teams. And I think there are still three or four other teams that are very good. I think in the end of the day, we'll have five or six NCAA teams and three or four NIT teams and that's pretty good out of one league. So I think the league could actually be a little better this year than last year.

(2 DIVISIONS)
With 14 teams you have to have two divisions. You can't have one, you have to have two. At least you try to get a bona fide division winner. With 14 teams you make the best of it, and that's really the best situation. We're playing the four teams from the other division that went to the NCAA Tournament last year, so… "DAD, DADDY," (kids come running, press conference is finally over!)

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