Skip to content

Jim Boeheim’s draft advice for Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant is hogwash

Mar 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

North Carolina State v Syracuse

Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim made $1.9 million last year. Yet, he doesn’t believe college players should be paid.

The NCAA is a scam, and Boeheim is the recipient of the wealth. He recruits young men to play for him for far less than market value and uses them to make himself money. And in a cartel system where every college team agrees to limit the compensation of its employees, the players have little recourse.

In this type of world, coaches like Boeheim have way too much power. Sometimes, they wield that power to lie to their marginalized underlings.

Boeheim, via ZagsBlog:

[“]I’m not going to be specific about anybody but my experience is guys look and if they see they fall where they’re favorable [they leave]…If you go 15th in the draft, you’re nothing. You might be out of the league in two years. It used to be a first-round draft pick you had a chance. That’s nothing. Those guys are out of the league. Half the guys taken in the first round the last three years are not even in the league.

“You gotta be in the top seven, eight, 10 picks to make sure you’re going to be playing in the NBA.”

Two of Boeheim’s players — freshman point guard Tyler Ennis and sophomore forward Jerami Grant — are projected as first-round picks.

Asked if he’s given them this spiel, Boeheim said, “Well, I talk to them about it. But you gotta be ready physically. Just because you play good in a college game, that doesn’t mean anything. Are you big enough, strong enough, can you shoot?

“It’s not even dominate. You gotta have a skillset. They don’t work with you up there. You’re either ready to play up there or you’re not. You go up there and you can’t shoot, you’re not playing. You up there and you’re not strong enough, you’re not playing. People forget how good the players are in the NBA.

There is so much BS here, I barely know where to begin, but let’s start with the factual claim: “Half the guys taken in the first round the last three years are not even in the league.”

In the last three years, just seven of 90 first-round picks – Livio Jean-Charles, Lucas Nogueira, Jared Cunningham, Fab Melo, Nolan Smith, JaJuan Johnson and Nikola Mirotic – are not in the NBA. That’s fewer than eight percent – nowhere near Boeheim’s 50 percent claim.

Jean-Charles, Mirotic and, to some extent, Nogueira were drafted to be stashed overseas, anyway. They hardly support Boeheim’s point.

How can we turn Boeheim’s statement true, though? Just swap the word “three” with 19. Half the guys taken in the first round the last 19 years are not even in the league. Using fewer years makes the statement false.


But Boeheim is talking more about college players determining whether to leave early. An even lower percentage of first-round picks drafted from American colleges are out of the league (blue line).


Boeheim admits he spews this garbage to Ennis and Grant, two players projected to be taken in the middle of the first round (Ennis on the higher end, Grant on the lower end).

I hope they’re not listening.

I’m in no position to tell either whether or not they should turn pro. I don’t know nearly enough about many relevant factors – how much they need the money, how much they enjoy school, how well they’re doing in school, etc.

But Boeheim – who stands to make even more money if these talented players return and help him win games – is even in worse position to advise these two. He has a huge conflict of interest, and by making up “facts” to get what he wants, he’s exploiting it.

Maybe Boeheim is just too colored by his own experiences. Since Carmelo Anthony, just three of seven Syracuse first-round picks are still in the NBA.



  • Fab Melo (2012)
  • Jonny Flynn (2009)
  • Donte Greene (2008)
  • Hakim Warrick (2005)

I guess if Boeheim does such a poor job preparing his players for the pros, it become self-fulfilling prophecy.

And his more-subjective claim – “They don’t work with you up there. You’re either ready to play up there or you’re not” – is more bunk.

I guess Lance Stephenson, Kendall Marshall and Greivis Vasquez all entered the NBA completely ready for the league. And I guess teams don’t employee player-development coaches. And I guess the D-League doesn’t exist.


Boeheim’s motives are as transparent as can be. I don’t even know what to say anymore.

I’ll just let Tony Snell’s mom finish him off.

  1. csiegert4 - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    I’m getting so sick and tired of this NCAA is a scam nonsense. What you all don’t understand about the financials of college athletics AS A WHOLE and the sheer amount of money that it would take to pay players is unbelievable. College athletics are not a lucrative business…football is, men’s basketball sometimes is…but there are a ton of other sports in the realm of college athletics (thanks title 9) and as a whole only 22 schools made a profit in 2011. That’s pretty standard. That’s because the money from football and men’s basketball is used to stop the bleeding of all the other sports that are getting a negative ROI. Most sports have a negative ROI.

    Moving on, where does the money come from? It’s clearly not that lucrative to just start tossing a billion dollars around out of nowhere. Everyone talks about what “should” happen but no one thinks about how it could happen. It’s not feasible. There are over 380,000 college athletes. Pay them on average $50 dollars a week and you’re looking at roughly 1 billion dollars annually. That’s asinine. It’s not possible to do so…

    Unless you have a realistic idea of how to make this happen in a logical way, shut up.

    • joshm5683 - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      csiegert4 you are 100% correct when looking at it from a dollars point of view. I don’t think the article was as much about athletes should or should not be paid as much as them staying helps Boeheim earn tons of money while they make nothing for themselves vs them leaving for their own personal reasons to make money in the NBA and he is left with the unknown and a down year can have a negative impact on him, and the more they win and further they go he makes more money.

    • davidly - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      Gotta love a rant that ends in telling a strawman to shut up.

      • casualcommenter - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        He probably spent more time typing that rant than reading the article…

        I say that because he obviously didn’t read the article.
        The article wasn’t about the NCAA paying players.
        It was about coaches profiting from players staying in college, which is factually true.

        Coaches get paid, and if they win more, they get paid more, and to win games, you need good players.

      • csiegert4 - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:56 PM

        I read the article…there was an underlying point that college players deserve to be paid (ie the NCAA is corrupt by not doing so). That was within the first 3-4 sentences, it was clearly an important point.

        Boeheim isn’t really far off, he just exaggerated too much. But guys getting drafted outside of the lottery are usually pretty pedestrian. Then again, being pedestrian for a long time in the NBA still gets you paid.

        I’m perfectly fine with college players being able to make as much money as their name will allow (such as signatures, appearances, etc) but the school should never have an obligation to pay them. However if you let players earn money based on their name that will create a huge gap between them and say bench players who no one is going to pay to get an autograph from. It will make things very awkward and complicated.

    • kinggw - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      I couldn’t agree more.

      I’m so tired of hearing that players should get paid. As a person who will be paying student loans for the next decade or more, I can tell you that a scholarship and a stipend is more than enough compensation for these guys, most of which will never sniff the pros and don’t have as big a role in making dough for the schools as is advertised.

      I understand the argument that some players, i.e. Wiggins, Randle, Embiid, etc. are more valuable as pros than as amateurs. So are you going to pay them and the walk on at the end of the bench the same rate? Does Wiggins make more than Embiid? What about teams that don’t players with pro grade talent? Does the top player on Hawaii deserve to make the same amount as the top player for Kentucky? You think the NCAA is corrupt now, wait until they start paying players and recruiting becomes an all out bidding war.

      Most college athletes aren’t leaving money on the table by going to college, so the NCAA doesnt need to drastically change how they do business.

      • borderline1988 - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        I think there should be a happy medium in this argument.

        It’s true that it’s somewhat ridiculous that Jim Bonheim is being paid $2 million off the backs of kids who aren’t sniffing a penny of it.
        On the other hand, the alternative of paying NCAA players is simply not a plausible would destroy the system as we know it. As commented above, there are only a handful of athletes in the entire NCAA system (out of hundreds of thousands) that would get paid big bucks in a free-marketed system; meanwhile the rest of the athletes and most sports would suffer.

        I’d propose keeping the NCAA system as it is, but imposing stricter rules to level the system. For instance, why not make a rule that no head coach can get paid more then $250k? How about allowing potential ‘stars’ to earn money signing autographs, endorsing products, etc.? Force all schools to ensure their athletes have 3 meals/day? Or make a rule (there may be one in place already) that at minimum, 80% of all profits made goes directly back into the athletic system and specifically not to salaries?

        I think the concept of athletes getting scholarships is brilliant…it’s true that for a guy like Andrew Wiggins, it can be argued that that kind of compensation is miniscule. But for hundreds of thousands of other athletes, it’s a major, major advantage.

        Don’t ruin the system because of the few guys who need to wait one year to make their millions

  2. mrtreyseven - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    so its Boehim fault them guys left early and arent in the league. thats the purpose of the article was him telling kids they are not ready. each year everyone talks about 2 to 5 freshmen that are sure fire top NBA talent but never talk about the hundreds of other Freshmen who feel they are just as good if not better than the guys that are named. so they put their name in the draft to not only not be selected but do get selected sent to the D-League crap out and end up back on the courts at home. Let these guys grow up if u dont believe college prepares you for nothing you either never been or didnt finish. off of you intern alone you are learning your job of choice. Go to college if u wanna quit and go to the League at least you will have credits if you crap out and want to get a degree

    • adamsjohn714 - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      hmmm….. most of the guys in the NBA all-star game didn’t go to more than 2 years of school. There are plenty of success stories just like there are plenty of stories where kids fail. An 18 year old is considered an adult in this country and has the legal right to fail or succeed at almost anything they want to try. In basketball, they’re told that not only do they not have the right to fail in the NBA, they must be exploited to make other people millions of dollars in unfair working conditions. Why shouldn’t an 18 year old be allowed to fail? The fact is that the billionaire NBA owners were stupid and gave a bunch of money to kids who weren’t worth it, and instead of stepping back and saying that they should scrutinize their talent scouting, or investing in strong player development personnel, they voted to trap them in college for a year of free scouting where they didn’t have to pay the player, coach them, provide health insurance, etc. I don’t fault the owners; it was a smart business decision. I fault all the people who buy all the b.s. that they spew. Very young players aren’t making the league worse. The NCAA is perfectly happy at the same time. They get guaranteed free labor that generates tons of money.

      • mackcarrington - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:32 PM

        RE: “most of the guys in the NBA all-star game didn’t go to more than 2 years of school.”
        Even if ALL the all-stars fall into that category, you are only talking about 30 players. Just 30.
        And you’re right. An 18 year old should be given the chance to fail. Then you end up with rosters like the 76ers
        and the Lakers currently. People don’t want to pay top dollars to see 18 year olds fail in the NBA.

      • adamsjohn714 - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        Correct. They fail, then they don’t get another contract. They’re out of the league. While they’re in the league, the team struggles. Fans stop going to games and watching on TV. Owners lose money. They decide to stop wasting money on bad players. There are also plenty of players who stayed all 4 years who fail in the NBA. Sorta relates to capitalism, which pretty much governs most businesses in America.

        Interestingly enough, the 76ers and Lakers are both awful, but couldn’t be more different. The Lakers are up s**t creek for a while with bad deals and aging players. Also, they don’t seem to know how to value free agents and signed a lot of bad ones when mediocre ones (for the same price) grow on trees.

        Philly, however, dumped overrated players (Holiday, Turner) for multiple picks and a great college big man in Noel. They now have tons of cap room, a young roster full of friendly contracts, and plenty of picks to either trade or use. Losing games was the byproduct, not the goal. The Lakers just have no clue and throw money at guys while sticking their fingers in their ears and saying “Time Warner Cable deal!” over and over.

        At the end of the day, there’s just no evidence that these young players are making the league worse, which owners and talking heads like Charles Barkley like to claim. It’s all about money, and they don’t mind cheating the guys who deserve a piece of the pie just to pad their bank accounts.

      • csiegert4 - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        Not the way it works…when a high number of draft picks fail that miserably it hurts the ENTIRE NBA, not just one team, not just two teams…ALL of them. From a business standpoint the rule is absolutely genius and has done nothing but great things. They WILL NOT change it, because it makes too much business sense the way it is. They were having WAY too many problems with owners chasing the next KG, Kobe, or LBJ…they were anomalies, the majority of players coming straight from HS were absolutely awful and owners threw away far too much money on them, hurting the financial side (ie the most important). Since they have revenue sharing this hurts everyone.

      • dinofrank60 - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:02 AM

        People don’t want to pay top dollars to see 18 year olds fail in the NBA.
        People will criticize this statement, but I agree. It’s not a sellling point to me; I’m not engaged in waiting for the arrival of Wiggins, Parker, Randle and others to join the NBA at this time. Sorry for not joining the party.

  3. Maurice Barksdale - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    If Ennis and Grant are drafted in the first round this year, they’ll both become millionaires, whether they can shoot or not. How much will Syracuse pay them next season? Nothing. Plus they run the risk of getting injured or suffering a slump if they stay in college. Seems like an easy decision to me.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:31 PM


      If those players suffer career-ending injuries in college, coach Boeheim still gets paid, but the players never get to earn a single paycheck.

      The risk-reward balance is incredibly obvious to anybody whose 7-figure salary doesn’t depend on scaring players into staying in college for another year and taking on injury-risk.

      • cfos00 - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        Not really true there. Pretty much anyone who is a lock as a top college athlete in football or basketball can get insurance that will pay them out a very large settlement should they get injured and not able to get play at the professional level. Just an example, USC’s WR Lee had a $10M insurance policy for if he would have gotten injured last year. The same type of thing is widely available for basketball players. These policies aren’t a new thing. A catastrophic injury might stop them from playing, but it wouldn’t stop them from getting paid if they have any common sense at all.

  4. eugenesaxe1 - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Boeheim is paying a mortgage, and buying food for his family, etc. And if his guys leave school early and bomb in the NBA, that certainly isn’t his fault.

    • time4complaints - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      Yeah, but it certainly isn’t ethical for him to make blatantly misleading statements to his players under the guise of giving them helpful advice.

      • casualcommenter - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        Exactly. Pretty much all full grown men are paying mortgages/rent and buying food.

        Do we all get to lie to people to advance our own interests? Is that morally okay?

        Also, Boeheim has earned millions of dollars in his career.
        I’m not too worried about Boeheim’s family’s ability to eat dinner tonight.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:01 PM

        No, you are absolutely right, although I’m sure his players know the actual numbers involved. If you’re a first-round pick and sign an NBA contract, you’re a guaranteed millionaire. That doesn’t mean coming out early is the best move (insurance can do the same thing if the kid gets hurt), but it’s hard for a potential millionaire to say “Nah, I think I’ll wait a year to get rich”.

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      If Boeheim has a mortgage still, something is wrong…

      He is 69 yrs old now and he’s been earning over a million a yr for many many years now…

      He’s PAST retirement age while having earned millions and millions…

      If he has a mortgage on his main home (a vacation home or something I understand)…

      • eugenesaxe1 - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:55 PM

        Way to let the point zoom right over your head.
        Boeheim has bills to pay.
        The only bills the players have are to their tattoo artists.

  5. clevelandschronic2 - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    This old man needs to STFU. He is spewing all these stats about the draft as if they are fact. 50% of 1st rd players are outta the league in 2-3 years GTFOH with that BS. He is just worried about himself and not these kids or their futures. What if the family of these players need the money? What happens if they both stay another year, and ennis suffers a freak injury? His career could be over, but jim boheim wouldnt give 2 shytttts as long as they stay to benefit him. Im sick of People including coaches pretending to care about these kids futures,when the truth is they only are looking out for themselves. Comments like the one bohiem made are proof of this. First he cries about the big east and now he complains about players looking towards their future instead of focusing on him. Please STFU Jim

  6. wheels579 - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    Any college coach’s advice to their players about turning pro could be viewed as a conflict of interest simply because it benefits the coach more for players to stay. The issue is too many players are turning pro before they are ready, and the quality of play in the nba has suffered as a result. Therefore, Boeheim’s advice to his players isn’t irresponsible even if his facts are inaccurate. The nba will always be able to offer more money than players could ever be paid at college level, so compensating college athletes is more about indentured servitude than deterring kids from turning pro. Not everyone is Lebron James or Anthony Davis, so Boeheim is correct that players should develop their skill set before entering the draft.

  7. stayhigh_247 - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    I understand that guys have to do what they have to do. But, the college game suffers from so many 1 and dones. Im speaking merely from a fans standpoint. College is actually the last time you get to be a kid before things get real. Why not enjoy the experience, besides, too many of these guys clearly aren’t ready for the next level.

  8. jbaxt - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Paying at mortgage at 4% and investing that same money earning 10-15%. Why not have a mortgage?

  9. knoxxlive - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Let them go

  10. xli2006 - Mar 23, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    College students are paid.

    Tell someone who has to pay for their own college that these athletes on scholly aren’t compensated and watch them laugh in your face.

    100-150,000 in 4 Year Tuition is compensation. Let’s at least discuss the situation realistically.

    Free College = Compensation

    Now, the question is should they be paid more? The other question is what other sports/programs would have to get cut or disappear to pay these athletes? If many departments are already in the Red, where are the “make-up revenues” going to come from? Only Football and Basketball are revenue sports and even those are money makers for larger schools/programs.

    • higums21 - Mar 25, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      Free tuition, thank you! Isn’t college about education?These players go to these school for free and half of them don’t even go to class. People think division one athletes should be compensated for all the revenue they bring in? What about college students that pay for their college. They are $200,000 in debt for attending these colleges and athletes are going there for free. People need to shut up about paying college athletes.

      As for Boeheim, he’s paid to win. Winning brings in 30,000 people to every game, which brings in money to SU. You win by recruiting. You try everything you can to get these top recruits to SU, why shouldn’t he try to keep these recruits another year. Feldman is an idiot.

  11. sdl65 - Mar 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    I’m sure JB has some input on their decision but not all. They get information from NBA GM’s to get an idea where a kid will go. The it’s about personal situations. Financial need ect. Not sure about Ennis but Grant shouldn’t be in any hurry.

  12. knoxxlive - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Why isn’t this under College Basketball

  13. unxpexted1 - Mar 24, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    I think this is why some of these high scouted freshman go to KY. Calipari makes no bones about the fact that you’re going to go pro. Basically just asks his kids to give him one good year. I think, by the quality of his recruits, that this approach is obviously working compared to the ambiguous statements here by Boeheim.

  14. sageandjudahsdad - Mar 25, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Stupid article. Neither KID is ready for the pro game. THAT is and should be the main issue. If you can’t beat DAYTONand you can’t bury the clutch shot, and you only net four points in the biggest game of your life. You are NOT ready for the next level

  15. jfsistii - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    This is probably the biggest piece of trash I have ever read. If you’re going to site the D-League as a legitimate place for players to hone their game and develop then you sir have no knowledge of anything related to profession or college basketball. YOu essentially named a landfill full of washed up/under developed players as the leagues main grooming ground. I mean come on, you cannot tell me that Tyler Ennis would rather play for some crap D-League team than in the Carrier Dome in front of friends, family, and classmates.

    Personally I don’t think either is ready and as of now both should return to school and hone their games even more. If you’re going to sit here and say Tyler Ennis was this good at the start of the year you’re insane. Jim Boeheim has been up close and personal with college players for nearly 4 decades so it’s safe to say he knows who is ready and who is not ready.

    About your players should be paid comment…they are paid… in education, team endorsement deals, meal plans, etc that some could probably not pay for otherwise. If you’re going to give a 18 year old 100,000 dollars in cold hard cash you honestly think they would be responsible in knowing, how, where, when, and what to spend it on?

    Get a grip, check your facts, and make this a little more readable next time. What year did you graduate from Pittsburgh?

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2586)
  2. K. Irving (2266)
  3. A. Davis (1937)
  4. L. James (1639)
  5. K. Bryant (1633)
  1. K. Durant (1508)
  2. A. Aminu (1475)
  3. M. Leonard (1438)
  4. T. Thompson (1415)
  5. A. Jefferson (1276)