Longtime Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim went out of his way to unfairly criticize a reporter Wednesday night during his media availability following the Orange’s win over Clemson.
What started as a fairly benign question from The Athletic’s Matthew Gutierrez that produced an at-first standard response from Boeheim turned into a personal verbal attack as Boeheim ripped Gutierrez’s basketball acumen and seemingly mocked his height.
Boeheim was asked about the “defensive growth” of players Quincy Guerrier and Alan Griffin over the past few games.
“I think they’re getting better, they still make some mistakes and that’s normal,” Boeheim began praising his guards before moving on to complimenting the rest of the team.
“I think our whole team has gotten better, but it hasn’t been as good as we needed it all year,” Boeheim continued. “I think we have gotten better as a team. I think it’s hard to go 9-7 in this league. This is a difficult league. Very difficult. I think these guys have done a great job this year.
Boeheim’s answer seemed complete – the media relations person had even started to call on the next reporter – but then he interjected with his shots at Gutierrez.
“But if I played Jesse (Edwards) and Kadary (Richmond) we’d probably be 22-2 now,” Boeheim said. “I just didn’t see that, I couldn’t figure that out by myself after 45 years.
“I needed a reporter to figure that out who’s never played basketball and is 5-foot-2.”
The possible source of Boeheim’s ire was a March 1 tweet where Gutierrez wrote: “If Richmond and Edwards had played the minutes they have deserved, Syracuse is probably somewhere around 17-5 overall this season and in the Big Dance. What a difference they provide.”
After its win over Clemson, Syracuse is now 15-8 overall and 9-7 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. The Orange are a projected No. 6 seed in USA TODAY Sports’ latest bracketology.
Boeheim, 76, has been the head coach at Syracuse since 1976. He won a national championship at the school in 2003.