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LEARY: Boeheim’s antics make me appreciate Buzz

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Patrick Leary

Patrick Leary

Monday night’s win over Syracuse emphasized what makes going to Marquette special. However, what happened Monday during the post-game press conference reminded me just how lucky I am to attend such a great university.

One of the many benefits of this job is getting to hear from the opposing coach after every home conference game. Since I have yet to attend or cover a Marquette loss (knock on wood), I have seen many different coaches react to defeat in many different ways.

Last year, Mick Cronin spoke like he had lost a loved one after his Cincinnati squad fell. This year, Jamie Dixon and Oliver Purnell stood out as polite and complimentary of Marquette’s efforts.

All of the coaches accepted defeat honorably and talked about what their teams could improve upon in a respectful manner. All of them, that is, except Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim.

When Boeheim sat down in front of the media after Monday’s game, I expected him to be a little angry. His team, which is talented enough to win the national title, has lost two big games in a row to the Big East leaders, after all.

But I didn’t expect him to say his team played really well and did almost nothing wrong. I also didn’t expect him to berate the media continuously during the 10-minute presser.

When a Syracuse journalist asked whether Boeheim considered switching previously injured forward DaJuan Coleman onto Davante Gardner to stifle Ox’s scoring prowess, Boeheim asked the reporter whether he wanted to tell him how to coach his team.

When another reporter questioned Boeheim about his team’s lack of on-court leadership, Boeheim said he “didn’t understand,” and when the reporter pressed him, Boeheim denied questioning his team’s leadership earlier in the season.

When the room went silent for a moment, Boeheim asked, “Any other coaches out there have questions?”

At the end of the presser Boeheim got up, collected himself and told the media to “go win your Pulitzers somewhere else.”

Wow. What a jerk. To think I almost went to Syracuse and would have dealt with this guy.

Fortunately, I made the decision to attend Marquette, and consequently to cover the kindest and most passionate college basketball coach out there, Buzz Williams.

Buzz loves his players. Every postgame interview highlights his passion for the game and the people who play it. Even his jabs at Gardner for his weight and Vander Blue for his jump shots are in good fun.

Buzz also knows how to deal with media. He starts every press conference the same way: “go ahead, Mike.” (Mike Hunt, the Journal Sentinel beat writer who travels to every game always gets the first question.) Other media members, who only show up when Marquette succeeds, have to wait their turns and even draw a “Where have you been?” from Williams on occasion.

On Monday night, as I watched a 37-year veteran of coaching with 912 career wins childishly berate his own traveling media for asking legitimate questions, I realized how lucky I am. Buzz

represents Marquette in the fullest and we are all fortunate to have him here.

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