Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim looks grumpy almost 100 percent of the time. A somewhat obsessive, defensive-minded taskmaster, it’s hard to see him wrangling older men who make more money than him and have international ad campaigns, as would be the case if he were to step to the NBA. Few men in NCAA basketball more epitomize the words “old school.”
Boeheim experiences what would ostensibly be a similar experience to NBA coaching with Team USA basketball, but he says it really isn’t all that similar. “This is really different than the NBA,” Boeheim recently told ESPN’s Marc Stein. “This is the best. This is getting the NBA players without agents, without anybody else telling them what they should do, with them willing to do exactly what we have to do to win. So it’s really not coaching in the NBA. It’s not even close. We know that. This is fantasy world.”
The stakes are much different for Team USA than they are in the NBA. Statistics from international play are a non-starter; hardly anyone ever knows or looks at them. All anyone remembers is whether USA won the gold. This is one of the many ways in which team transcends individual in this arena, and makes the culture palatable for the frequently flustered Boeheim, who will be on the sidelines Sunday as the Americans fight Serbia for the gold.