Will Syracuse basketball’s Bourama Sidibe and Marek Dolezaj use new NCAA rule to return for a fifth 12 months? (Mi –

Syracuse, N.Y. – Fifth-year seniors, Foreign players, Former assistants and Fastbreak baskets.

A bunch of Fs aren’t what anyone wans to see on their report card, but it’s a fine way to summarize this week’s Mike’s Mailbox.

Let’s get to those questions.

Q: Any idea if Bourama Sidibe and/or Marek Dolezaj will come back next year since they will not lose eligibility for this year?

Dennis S.

Mike: The NCAA recently announced that all winter sports athletes will receive an extra year of eligibility to help compensate for the uncertainty surrounding this season due to the coronavirus.

The rule applies to all athletes; not just seniors, but obviously seniors like Bourama Sidibe and Marek Dolezaj will be part of the first class that will be able to take advantage of the rule.

I have not talked to either player about their plans yet. It’s really too soon for them to know what they’re going to do.

In talking with some college coaches, they believe that many players will elect to leave at the end of their four-year careers. More players at the mid-major level might decide to spend a fifth year in college, but those at the high major level will be more likely to pursue professional opportunities.

While neither Sidibe or Dolezaj is likely to play in the NBA, both hold international passports. That gives them added value for foreign teams which are limited in the number of United States players that can be on their roster.

Q: What is Jim Boeheim’s record against his former assistant coaches?

Ray H.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim shares a laugh with Louisville coach Rick Pitino before a game.Frank Ordonez | The Post-Standard

Mike: Alabama football coach Nick Saban has never lost a game to one of his former assistants.

Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim isn’t undefeated, but he still has a very good record against those who formerly served on his staff.

Boeheim has a total record of 40-20 against his former assistant coaches.

Boeheim is 8-1 against Ralph Williard with seven wins and one loss coming when Willard was at Pittsburgh and one win when Willard was at Holy Cross.

Tim Welsh was 2-8 against his old boss. Boeheim beat Welsh once when Welsh was at Iona; that game was in the 1998 NCAA tournament, and went 7-2 against Welsh’s Providence teams.

Boeheim is 5-0 against Rob Murphy’s Eastern Michigan teams.

Boeheim beat Scott Hicks twice at Le Moyne and once at Albany. Yes, those two wins against Le Moyne were part of SU’s regular season schedule.

Louis Orr coached at Siena and Bowling Green, but only faced Boeheim during his five years at Seton Hall. Boeheim has a 5-2 record against Orr.

That brings us to Rick Pitino. Pitino is the only former Boeheim assistant with a winning record against his mentor. Pitino is 15-11 overall against Boeheim.

Here’s the breakdown: Boeheim was 5-0 against Pitino’s Providence teams, 1-3 against Kentucky when Pitino was there and 5-12 against Pitino’s Louisville squads.

Maybe Pitino and Boeheim will face each other again since Pitino is coaching again at the college level at Iona.

Q: Wednesday October 28 is National Immigrants Day. How would you rank the top Syracuse players born outside the United States?

Bill N.

Mike: This is not your ordinary “Will Syracuse play more man-to-man” or “Why can’t SU recruit a big guy” type of question.

Syracuse has had a lot of success with international players. This year’s team includes five players who were born outside the United States: Marek Dolezaj (Slovakia), Bourama Sidibe (Mali), Jesse Edwards (Netherlands), Quincy Guerrier (Canada), John Bol Ajak (Sudan) and Frank Anselem (Nigeria).

If I had to pick the top Syracuse player who was born overseas, it would have to be Rony Seikaly. Seikaly ranks 13th in career points (1,716) and second in rebounds (1,094).

Rony Seikaly, Dwayne Schintzius

Syracuse’s Rony Seikaly scores two of his 33 points over Florida’s Dwayne Schintzius during the NCAA East Regional at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., on March 19, 1987.
(AP Photo/Ron Frehm)AP

After Seikaly, Syracuse’s top international players would include Leo Rautins, Kris Joseph, Kueth Duany, Oshae Brissett and Tyler Ennis. Marius Janulis went to high school in New York, but he was born and raised in Lithuania.

Even though Donte Greene was born in Germany, I left him off the list as well since he spent a good part of his youth in the U.S.

And before anyone asks, Rakeem Christmas was born in New Jersey, so he doesn’t qualify.

Q: I’m really excited to see this Cuse team in action. Would seem this is as athletic, and maybe deep, a team that Jim has had in a while. Should we expect to see a more up-tempo flow than in recent years?

Jason G.

Mike: It will be interesting to see if Syracuse can play at a faster tempo this season. A faster pace would help create open shots for Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard. Good shooters love transition threes.

But playing faster isn’t as simple as wanting to push the ball up the floor.

Syracuse often finds itself in lower-scoring games because its opponents take more time to find a shot against the Orange’s 2-3 zone defense.

In order to run, you also have to be a good rebounding team. Syracuse struggled on the boards last season and it remains to be seen if the Orange can improve in that area this season.

Finally, steals lead to fastbreaks. Last year, Syracuse ranked seventh in the ACC in steals. Can Girard and Boeheim create more steals and turn them into fastbreak opportunities?

More Orange basketball:

Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard could rewrite SU record book thanks to NCAA rule

The door has closed on Dior Johnson at Oak Hill Academy; what’s next for SU commit?

Jim Boeheim on the start of practice, remaking the schedule, Quincy Guerrier’s recovery and more

SU freshman Chaz Owens follows in dad Billy’s footsteps

Mike Waters is a reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard and Got a comment or idea for a story? He can be reached via email at

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *