After an eventful week, Syracuse fans were on edge. Some shamefully spewed negativity in the direction of Tyler Lydon and Mike Hopkins.
Syracuse didn’t need the NCAA tournament for the madness to permeate the streets of Central New York. It was a week devoid of buzzer beaters and ferocious putbacks, but one that consisted of a program-changing sequence of events.
And now that the dust, or snow, has settled, it’s time to recognize just how ridiculous some of the fan perspectives have been.
After 21 seasons as the Orange’s lead assistant, Mike Hopkins took his talents to the West Coast to accept a head coaching position with the Huskies. This initially caught everyone by surprise. Hopkins bled Orange. Syracuse is his alma mater and he was set to take over for the Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim at the conclusion of next season. Why would he leave?
Well, it turns out Hop prided himself more on being a builder than a maintainer. While SU might’ve been his dream job, a gig with Washington would allow him the opportunity to do something that wasn’t afforded to him coaching the Orange.
With the Huskies, he could become the orchestrator of sustained success for a program with not much to celebrate in its history. Hop goes from a school with one national title (three championship game appearances), six Final Fours and a laundry-list of commendable accomplishments to one that hasn’t sniffed the postseason in six straight years.
Washington has been to just one Final Four and three Elite 8s. The climb to the top might be steep, making for an arduous path to success, but it’s a tremendous opportunity for Hop to create his own legacy. With his recruiting prowess and sound basketball mind, there’s a ton to be optimistic about for Huskies fans that have watched their team make the dance just six times since the turn of the century.
Retroactive to the Hopkins departure, Syracuse University athletic director John Wildhack announced that Boeheim had received an extension. The details of the contract weren’t released, so we don’t know how long he’ll coach for, but we do know next season won’t be his last.
Wildhack extinguished any notions about there being a conspiracy theory as it pertained to Boeheim forcing his understudy out the door because he wanted to coach longer. According to both parties, Hop chose to leave on his own. The decision to extend Boeheim was rooted in the need to establish stability at the helm after the shocking departure.
And if this wasn’t enough to keep people in Syracuse entertained, Tyler Lydon officially announced on Twitter he was headed to the NBA draft, foregoing his last two year’s of eligibility with the Orange.
— Tyler Lydon (@Tyler_Lydon14) March 22, 2017
Lydon finished his sophomore season averaging 13.2 points per game (2nd on the team) with a team-leading 8.7 rebounds. He will most be remembered for how he helped catapult SU to its fifth Final Four under Boeheim.
There are actually people out there upset with Lydon and Hopkins and this couldn’t be more asinine.
Let’s first look at Hop, who exuded nothing short of professionalism, loyalty and diligence for better than two decades both as a player, then as a coach.
There was a caller on ESPN Radio in Syracuse who suggested it was upsetting that Hop didn’t do more during his exit. Apparently, not only should he have held a press conference in Syracuse upon him leaving, he should’ve coupled that with a tweet sent out to Orange Nation thanking them and the program for everything … yep, I swear I’m not making this up, and yes, I had the same reaction you just did.
Where to start? Well, first of all, it’s foolish to expect him to hold a press conference for his former employer before doing so with the new one.
Once you come to that realization, you’d stumble upon how idiotic it would be to have plan b become Hop doing said press conference in Syracuse after he was formally introduced in Washington. This would require him to travel across the country, only to come to back before going back there to actually do the job he was just given.
And Twitter, really? I know social media is everything nowadays, but really, a thank you note on Twitter? Unnecessary. Hopkins doesn’t owe anyone in Central NY anything, not even a tweet. It’s time for him to focus on satiating the hunger of a starving fan-base. There’s no value to reminiscing about the ex-girlfriend on social media when the new one has already changed her bio to “taken and happy.”
For Lydon, it’s simple. You don’t get to spew negativity in his direction when he helped get you to within two wins of a national championship.
And for those saying he’s destined to be a failure, he’s about to be a first-round pick, which means millions of dollars is on the way. Playing in the NBA while counting benjamins? Doesn’t sound like failing to me, but then again, who am I?
It’s understandable that the emotional attachment will rear its head when relationships end. But the appreciation should usurp any expressions of criticism.
Time heals all. Fans are undoubtedly frustrated because this team has missed the NCAA tournament in two of the past two years. But the best cure is that of winning, so hopefully Jim Boeheim to get them going back in the right direction next year so the fans can live happily ever after.