Yes, the headline is accurate. Buddy Boeheim, son of legendary Syracuse Mens Basketball coach Jim Boeheim, has been arguably the most interesting story on the AAU circuit this summer. And for good reason.
The 6 foot 5 guard hasn’t always been the center of attention. In fact, he has flown under the radar basically his entire life. Assuming he would become a low D-1 to high D-2 caliber player who would then, of course, walk on to Syracuse to play for his dad, it always seemed like Buddy’s college recruitment would have an obvious end result. Yet as of late, conditions have developed for the now high Division I prospect after an impressive showing at one of the nation’s largest AAU tournaments.
Buddy was said to have been lights out from behind the arc the entire weekend, leading his team to a dramatic win over a squad with four players in ESPN’s top 100 rankings. Shortly after this prime performance, Boeheim received a full scholarship offer from Gonzaga’s head coach Mark Few. Apparently, Gonzaga isn’t the only major program flirting with Buddy. It’s been said he is also in communication with NC State, Georgetown, Northwestern and George Washington.
As common sense certainly tells us, I’m confident there’s about an 80% chance Buddy will end up playing college ball for his father. In case you didn’t know, Jim is one of greatest college basketball coaches in the history of the game. But that’s not the point. The point is he certainly doesn’t have to be an Orange Man in order to play at the highest level. It sprouts the question: Would an alternative route be a healthier choice?
Any athlete with over supportive parents could certainly relate to the controversial feelings that come along with playing for one. It’s not always roses, and there is very much a stigma of over expectation and privilege that comes along with it. The over expectation to be, by far, the best player on the court to avoid the stereotypical ‘you’re only in the game because your father put you in.’ And, of course, the privilege to never permanently get on the coaches bad side. After all, he is your father at the end of the day.
Despite the pros and cons of such a scenario, Buddy has been proving all summer that he is capable of achieving the same level without his father. Why bother then with the added anxiety that comes along with being the coaches son? Of course there is his preference, and having earned the right for decent playing time at a school he’s probably always dreamed of playing for. But is the juice simply worth the squeeze?
That’s not to say there haven’t been successful father-coaching-son scenarios in the past. A perfect example being Doug McDermott playing for his father at Creighton. That example is a bit different from the potential Boeheim scenario. Creighton was not a complete high major when Doug played there. He was also the reigning Player of the Year in his conference. Buddy is most likely not going to be First Team All ACC, so he will be jockeying for playing time with other 5 star recruits each season.
Nothing must be better than playing for your father and winning games, except maybe playing against your father and/or going further in the tournament as a main factor on another team, right? Many may disagree, but there’s a level of respect and prestige that I believe comes with doing things yourself. Although Buddy Boeheim is more than good enough to thrive at Syracuse, he should consider these other offers very seriously. Before he decides, he should ask himself, “Which sounds better: PG Buddy Boeheim of Gonzaga, or PG Boeheim’s son of Syracuse?”