Jim Boeheim says no current freshmen have 'transcendent' ability

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

So, Jim, how's about this holiday season? Such a nice time of year. Say, while I have you, how about these freshmen in college hoops, huh? Pretty remarkable how so many have lived up to or exceeded the hype, right? It's been so long since this many freshmen were this good and giving the college game so much publicity, yeah?

Kind of reminds me of when you had Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara. Oh, sure, G-Mac wasn't an NBA prospect, but those were two frosh that had impact, made national news and gave your program a huge boost. I maintain that '03 championship will go down as one of the more memorable title runs in college basketball, even when we look back 20 years from now.

So what about these fun frosh this year? Anyone of the Carmelo variety? Who do you think is a Hall-of-Famer?

What's that? What'd you tell SNY.tv?

“There's no player that's out there on the horizon that's a Tim Duncan or a LeBron James,” the Hall of Fame Syracuse coach told SNY.tv by phone Thursday. “I've seen all these guys play. I think they're very talented players. They're not that kind of player. They're not transcendent players that are gonna make your franchise into a 10-12-15-year winning franchise because you're there. I don't see that.”

Ah. So perhaps someone like Carmelo then, after all.

Ribbing aside, Boeheim's continued honesty about almost all matters remains his most charming and damning character trait. Frankly, you wouldn't get five head coaches on the record to say what he just said. I commend him for it, even if I think he's wrong. Jabari Parker looks special. Andrew Wiggins has been considered an underachiever ... and he's averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds in 30 minutes per game while playing alongside two other first-round picks, one of them (Joel Embiid) almost definitely a top-five choice.

To say any 18- or 19-year-old player lacks transcedent ability at this stage is as silly as to say the opposite. We're not sure yet, but the possibility heightens the excitement, and I can't wait to see what's next. At the very least, these pups have changed the conversation on college hoops, and that's some accomplishment in itself.

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