There are many things to admire about Jim Boeheim. The Syracuse coach won his 900th game on Monday night. He's just the third in the history of the sport to accomplish that feat. That's one thing to admire. He never left Syracuse. That's another. He plays that trademark zone defense in an era when most believe you must play man-to-man. You have to admire that.
I have always admired this: The man is never afraid to speak his mind.
He did it again Monday night, the night when his Orange beat Detroit 72-68 for his milestone win, the night when he could have just basked in the glow of his achievement. He didn't do that. That's not Jim Boeheim.
Like everyone else, he had watched the heartbreaking, gut-wrenching coverage of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings, and according to Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard, Boeheim had something to say.
“This will probably offend some people,” Boeheim said in his post-game press conference. “If we in this country as Americans cannot get the people that represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society. I'm a hunter. I've hunted. I'm not talking about rifles. That's fine. If one person in the world, the NRA president, anbody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing. This is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All our faults if we don't get out there and do something about this.”
Vintage Boeheim, who is the Gregg Popovich of college hoops. He's good enough and been around long enough to say what he thinks. Or maybe Popovich is the NBA version of Jim Boeheim.
One more thing to admire about Boeheim, of course, is his wife, Juli, a UK graduate. She was at the press conference with the couple's small children.