Many of the Syracuse Orange basketball players may have never faced as many media members as they did on Tuesday night.
It was the first game to be played following the firing of SU Associate Head Coach Bernie Fine for allegations of sexual abuse, and there was very little room to move in the Orange locker room after an 84-48 win over Eastern Michigan . The regular local media squeezed into the small locker room along with other reporters even the players may have recognized from networks like CNN and ESPN. The national media was only there to cover one topic, the ongoing Bernie Fine saga, and to some of the players that was frustrating.
"It's like a disrespect thing," says senior guard Scoop Jardine, "we don't know what's going on and we have nothing to do with nothing. For us it's like a motivation thing. We want to go out and just play basketball and be hungry and continue with our season because our season is going to continue."
Jardine continued, "It's all about us, it's all about our season. I'm just happy we come to work everyday and we're able to block all the stuff out and still be able to be student athletes that we are, that's the biggest thing with this team, and i'm very happy to be a part of something like this."
We all have responsibilities," says sophomore guard Dion Waiters, "we know there's a lot of things going on. We can't control anything that's going on, though, at the end of the day, we only could go out there and play basketball as a team and have each other's back and let everything else take care of itself."
And while Coach Jim Boeheim had his hands full himself answering questions from the media , including whether he felt secure in his job following Fine's firing, he took time to clarify his team's focus.
"The players will not be distracted," said Boeheim, "we may not win every game but if we lose a game it will not be because they're distracted. They're going to play, we'll keep them focused. The important things as a coach that you try to teach them when they get here is that they have to be focused."
The Orange next play this Friday at the Carrier Dome when they take on Florida at 7:00 p.m.