Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and assistant Mike Hopkins recently concluded a gold medal stint with USA Basketball. On Thursday, they capped their summer with a commitment from Tyler Ennis (Brampton, Ont./St. Benedict’s), the No. 7 point guard in the ESPN 100.
When college coaches leave their teams for the summer they have to explain their plans and have other staffers pick up the slack in their absence. When it came to Ennis, Boeheim didn’t need to waste a lot of time explaining his commitment to USA Basketball. Ennis played for Canada’s junior national team and his family understood the obligation.
“They didn’t have to explain anything,” said Tony McIntyre, Ennis’ father and travel team coach with CIA Bounce. “There’s an understanding. Tyler played for the Canadian team and that was near and dear to Coach Boeheim’s heart. He said he would show that he would be at the games in April and told us he would make sure his staff was there. We run into that with Canada basketball. He called when he was in England. He stayed in contact.”
Boeheim dispatched his assistants. Combined, they never missed a single game Ennis played in the summer. Adrian Autry, Gerry McNamara and graduate assistant Nick Resavy did the heavy lifting. Resavy replaced Hopkins who was also on the road with Boeheim and Team USA.
Recruiting is a cutthroat business. At some point, there must have been another staff pointing out the fact that Boeheim wasn’t present in July. With Ennis, it didn’t matter. Committed to playing for his country too, Ennis’ dad said his son didn’t need to see Boeheim anymore. He understood the commitment.
“I think it shows a lot of the character for those kids being recruited the school,” McIntyre said. “If it’s a disadvantage for your school then those aren’t the kids you want to recruit.”
Boeheim and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was head coach of Team USA, are armed with anecdotes and coaching stories no other college coach can share. Kobe, LeBron, Melo and KD trusted them. If that’s not a feather in the cap to go along with the gold medal, then McIntyre’s right, you’re not talking to the right players.
“The amount of respect that coaching staff got and dealing with the NBA guys and getting those guys to buy into that, it says a lot about the respect those guys have," McIntyre said. "It helps you sell the program.”
With Ennis, it just did.