Jim Boeheim forgoes postgame press conference, assistant coach Mike Hopkins fields questions instead

first_img Published on March 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb RALEIGH, N.C. — Jim Boeheim walked past a pair of PNC Arena police officers after Syracuse’s loss to North Carolina State before entering the coaches’ locker room.“If I knew we were going to shoot like that, I would’ve played you guys,” Boeheim told them.That was all reporters would hear him say immediately after the game.In place of Boeheim, Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins emerged through the doors to the PNC Arena interview room to address the media following the Orange’s 71-57 loss to North Carolina State on Saturday afternoon.“The only reason Coach Boeheim is not here right now is because he doesn’t want to answer, “No comment,” Hopkins told the group of reporters as he sat down. “I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions about the game.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThirteen seconds of silence ticked away before the next question was asked.SU’s (18-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) loss to the Wolfpack (19-12, 10-8) came one day after the NCAA released its report following an eight-year investigation of SU Athletics. The report handed down sanctions that included the loss of 12 scholarships over four years, a five-year probationary period, the vacation of wins, a nine-game ACC suspension for Boeheim starting next season and fines.Before the game, SU chief communications officer Joe Giansante was asked if the athletic program would like to further comment on the NCAA’s decision and he said that the program is still thinking about it.After the game, a statement from Boeheim was handed to reporters in the media room. In it, the 39th-year head coach referred to the statement issued on his behalf on Friday night that expressed his disappointment with the NCAA’s rulings.In Boeheim’s statement Saturday, he stated his desire to keep postgame discussions about the team, which will not be playing in the postseason due to its self-imposed one-year ban.Hopkins didn’t deviate from Boeheim’s plan. When asked about if he used his own playing experience — Hopkins was a senior guard on the 1992-93 SU team that was banned from the postseason by the NCAA — to relate with the current players, he kept the focus of his response on their challenges this season, citing injuries to forwards DaJuan Coleman and Chris McCullough.“It’s tough. A lot of adversity. A lot of adversity,” Hopkins said. “… These guys just kept fighting. Coach kept asking them to bring it every night and they did and they fought. They played hard, they played together. We just didn’t make enough shots.”The assistant coach declined to discuss NCAA matters when asked about the SU coaches’ and players’ reactions to the report and when asked how the loss of scholarships will affect the Orange. Hopkins also declined to answer a question about when he was told he’d be addressing the media instead of Boeheim.This was the first time he’d done that.“This is my first,” Hopkins said. “Am I doing OK? A couple tears almost.”When asked about how tough it’s been to see Boeheim deal with all that happened this season, Hopkins responded, “Coach is a warrior. He’s a superhero,” before pausing for seven seconds. “Superhero.”When asked about envisioning a day Syracuse wouldn’t have Boeheim, Hopkins — the next head coach of the Orange — reflected on the head coach’s influence on SU.“He’s a legend,” Hopkins said, “and when people ask me, ‘You’ll be the next head coach at Syracuse,’ I used to always say, ‘I’m going to put an unbelievable fence around it and try to protect his legacy and what he’s created’ because what he’s done, not too many people — I don’t think anybody will be able to do that again.“He’s a special guy and it’s going to be hard (to replace him), I can tell you that. He’s a legend.”Staff writer Jesse Dougherty, [email protected], contributed reporting to this article. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more