Boeheim talks Southerland ineligibility
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim seems to take everything in stride, no matter what’s swirling around his Orange.
For the second time in the past year, Boeheim has lost a player due to eligibility concerns. On Saturday, the university announced just before the Orange’s tipoff against Villanova that senior James Southerland was out indefinitely.
A year ago, center Fab Melo missed three games in late January due to an academic issue, then was reinstated. But just before the start of the NCAA tournament, the sophomore was ruled ineligible again. He did not play another college game and was drafted by the Boston Celtics.
Although Boeheim cited privacy issues in declining to elaborate on Southerland’s status after the Orange’s 11-point win over the Wildcats, he was somewhat more open during a tour of ESPN studios in Connecticut on Monday.
“Kids are going to get in situations and over the years they have,” Boeheim said. “We have been fortunate to be very careful. We have two academic advisers, we have several people that work with our players through all kinds of issues and I think that’s why we never had that many problems over the years. But when they do strike, obviously, it is troubling.
“We will get through it and, hopefully, James will get through this.”
The sooner the better for the team.
Syracuse (16-1, 4-0 Big East), which moved up one notch to sixth this week in the national rankings, will play at top-ranked Louisville on Saturday. Louisville (15-1) moved up from No. 3 on Monday after losses by Duke and Michigan over the weekend and has won 10 straight games since losing to Duke in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Southerland has blossomed in the sixth-man role that has become so important at Syracuse since he arrived. He watched Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters excel as the first off the bench and embraced it when it was his turn, leading the team in scoring for much of the season after a career-high 35-point outburst that included nine 3-pointers in a win at Arkansas in late November.
Southerland has averaged 26.3 minutes … [For more on Boeheim opens up about Southerland ineligibility before tough slate, click here.]