It is not everyday that you get to play division 1 basketball for your dad. Jackson Thomas Boeheim is doing just that. The coach’s son, who likes to go by Buddy Boeheim, is putting the college basketball world on notice during the NCAA tournament. Buddy put a lot of pressure on himself by committing to play for his father at Syracuse. He garnered a lot of criticism so far throughout his three years with the Orange. Many fans have been calling for him to come off the bench and the only reason he gets as much playing time as he did, is because he is a Boeheim.
However, he is proving those doubters wrong. Buddy took a big leap from his freshman to his sophomore season. He took an even bigger leap from his sophomore to his junior season. He has been playing like a man possessed this postseason. Let’s break it down.
Coming in to Syracuse, everyone knew that Buddy Boeheim could shoot. That has been on display in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Sunday against West Virginia, Boeheim broke a Syracuse 3-point record held by Gerry McNamara. McNamara holds every single 3-point record at Syracuse except for one. Buddy Boeheim now has the record for most 3-pointers made by a Syracuse player in the first two rounds of an NCAA Tournament. Boeheim has recorded 13 makes from beyond the arc in Syracuse’s first two games. Over his last nine games, Boeheim is shooting 48.9% from beyond the arc. That’s pretty darn good.
Boeheim has also been displaying his basketball IQ so far this tournament. It was on full display on Sunday against West Virginia. Boeheim is 6’6″ and he often found himself being guarded by Sean McNeil who is only 6’3″. Boeheim took full advantage of this height different. When the two were matched up, you saw Boeheim putting the ball on the floor more often and getting to the rim or into the lane and shooting over the smaller defender. Boeheim would simply rise up over McNeil and score over him at all three levels on the court.
Jim Boeheim is famous for his 2-3 zone. It gives tournament opponents fits when they see it for the first time come March. Buddy Boeheim is the perfect player to play in his dad’s system. Father Boeheim has always liked to recruit tall guards for the top of that zone. Think players like Michael Carter-Williams, Michael Gbinije, Buddy Boeheim, and top freshman Kadary Richmond. Buddy averaged 1.5 steals per game at the top of the zone. It is so hard for team’s to simulate it in practice. Many teams simply do not have the length at the top of the zone that Syracuse does. What are normally open looks in practice, turn into contest shots and steals in a real game.
Buddy Boeheim is more than just the coach’s son. He is turning into one of the most important players that Syracuse has had in recent memory. He will be up their in the ranks as one of the best shooters to ever come through Syracuse. Boeheim will be in the same category as the likes of Trevor Cooney, James Southerland, and Eric Devendorf. Andy Rautins is a tier above them and Gerry McNamara is in his own world at the top. Boeheim has shed the coach’s son narrative and is now getting the respect he deserves.
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-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)