Syracuse not getting distracted in wake of reports of NCAA investigation

first_img Published on March 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm Contact Michael: mjcohe02@syr.edu | @Michael_Cohen13 Facebook Twitter Google+ SAN JOSE, Calif. — For the second time in two years, Syracuse entered the NCAA Tournament in the middle of a story where basketball was not the focus. Its on-the-court achievements and current preparation once again took a backseat to reports of NCAA activity that cast a bit of a cloud over a team playing arguably the best it has all season.“Same story they had last year at this time,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I guess that’s annual. I guess next year we’ll get it again.”CBS Sports reported Wednesday that the Syracuse basketball team has been under investigation for a period of years, and that the school has received a letter of preliminary inquiry from the NCAA. The article comes one year after Fab Melo was pronounced ineligible two days before the Orange took the floor against UNC-Asheville in Pittsburgh.Boeheim fielded a handful of questions on the matter in his press conference Wednesday afternoon inside HP Pavilion, offering little more than several variations of “no comment.” Daryl Gross, Syracuse’s athletic director, would not comment on the record. He referred all questions to the answers Boeheim provided minutes earlier.“There’s no distractions for me,” Boeheim said. “And these players, there’s absolutely no distractions for them. They’re here to play Montana, and that’s it.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse takes the floor against the Grizzlies on Thursday at 9:57 p.m.Boeheim explained that the biggest difference from this year to last year is that the 2011-12 team was forced to deal with the absence of one of its most important players. Melo, a 7-foot center who was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, had emerged as a threat on both ends of the floor for a team that lacked quality depth at the center position.This year’s story is “just talk,” as Boeheim described it.“Last year was completely different,” he said. “That was not a distraction, it was an absence. And they handled it as well as they could.”Gross grew frustrated when asked about the CBS Sports report. He said Boeheim’s comments provided everything that needed to be said, and he walked away when asked to confirm that the school had received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA.Brandon Triche, a senior guard, said he had not heard about the report, meaning it wasn’t any sort of a distraction. He said he and his teammates were not a part of it, so it won’t take away from their focus.Boeheim, though, is a part of it. And though the moderator attempted to quell reporters from probing the matter, Boeheim seemed to welcome the questions if only for an opportunity to deflect them.“I don’t mind,” he said. “You can ask a hundred of them.”But even when all the questions were asked, no new information was offered. Syracuse still has a game to play, and that, Boeheim said, is most important.“Doesn’t bother me,” Boeheim said. “Not at all. We’re concerned about playing Montana.” Commentslast_img read more