Syracuse is dealing with the indefinite suspension of its star player, James Southerland, and Orange leader Jim Boeheim isn't taking it too well. Although he's dealt with violations before, it's hard to see one of his seniors lose time on the court.
“I feel bad for the kid,” Boeheim said. “He's a senior. He's worked hard to be in school and stay in school. He had a great semester last fall academically. I'm hoping that through the process that you have to go through, that he will be able to come back. I think that to take away a kid's senior year is something that you just hope could never happen.”
Southerland is out because of academic issues, just one year after star center Fab Melo was also dismissed for academic issues. Despite missing Southerland's 13.6 points per game, Syracuse is still atop the Big East. Syracuse will face Big East rival Villanova on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET. Who Syracuse calls a conference rival will soon change as they leave the Big East for what may be greener pastures in the ACC.
Switching conferences is not just a matter of changing logos. There are memories and rivalries that also disappear with conference realignment. When you've been a staple at a program for more than four decades like Boeheim has, realignment can be an emotional experience. Syracuse's last Big East game will be March 9 at Georgetown.
“It's bittersweet. It has meant everything to me,” Boeheim said. “I'm sure going into the last game with Georgetown there will be a lot of memories to think about it. There's definitely some really nostalgic feelings for me going through this last year in the Big East."