The “lunchtime YMCA player” has turned into a dominant scorer for the Orange.
Let’s be honest: this hasn’t been the most outstanding year for Syracuse Orange men’s basketball, and a lot of that criticism from fans (and sometimes from Jim Boeheim himself) landed on the starting guards, Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim. The latter, who is also the son of the head coach if you didn’t know, has completely shut that conversation down with a March for the history books.
Jim Boeheim on Joe and Buddy: “I think somebody said lunchtime players or something. That they play at lunchtime or something at the Y. It must be a heck of a lunchtime.”
— James Szuba (@JamesSzuba) March 20, 2021
His latest installment was undeniably his most impressive game. San Diego State came out physical, aggressive, and forcing turnovers that ‘Cuse did not commit anytime before the Aztecs matched up with them. However, like Tom Crean, Buzz Williams, Tom Izzo, and so many others, the adjustments to defeat the zone were not made after some initial clean looks did not fall.
Enter Buddy Boeheim.
The shooting guard scored 16 of the Orange’s first 19 points, and would end the night with an outstanding 30-point output, which was the 7th-best scoring total in ‘Cuse Tournament history. In Boeheim’s previous March takeovers, he had shown an ability to put the ball on the floor, and make space at the rim for jumpers or layups using his superior size over most other shooting guards. While that was an element of his game early as SDSU aggressively pressured ‘Cuse on the ball, Buddy went to his roots and shot the lights out from deep.
Buddy finished 11-of-15 from the field, 7-for-10 from behind the arc, and added another 4 defensive rebounds for good measure. The night was capped off with a heat check shot that left everyone stunned, but somehow, is best consumed in Russian. It didn’t officially end the game, but it was the biggest dagger driven through the heart of the Aztecs by the Orange shooters.
As called on Russian TV: pic.twitter.com/qwz8qGJf92
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 20, 2021
Since March 1, the younger Boeheim is averaging 26.2 points a game, a pace that hasn’t been replicated over an entire season for the Orange since Greg Khols averaged 26.7 a game in 1971-72. Gerry McNamara, Buddy’s position coach and someone he works with more than any other staff member, only averaged 17 a game in the miraculous 2006 Big East Tournament run. 2003 Tournament MVP and ‘Cuse legend Carmelo Anthony averaged 22.2 points per game in his Championship run. To put it more directly: Buddy is on an all-time scoring streak that ‘Cuse has not seen in a generation.