Coach Boeheim has consistently played the best players on the court, regardless of their class. Keep in mind, by “best”, I mean the player who is the most talented and positive impact on the team today. Many fans get that confused with “potential”, meaning how good the player could be. One thing Boeheim has not done much with, is the “would of, could of, should of” scenarios.
Boeheim has been the head coach at Syracuse for 31 years. During that time, he has started 22 freshman. Sixteen of them were starters for virtually their entire freshman seasons, and six split time with other teammates.
Erich Santifer (16 gs)
Michael Edwards (18 gs)
Etan Thomas (12 gs)
Jeremy McNeil (21 gs)
Hakim Warrick (19 gs)
Demetris Nichols (15 gs)
That was the list of the starters. That does not even account for the freshman who has significant playing time from the bench, which would include players such as:
Does Jim Boeheim start seniors and juniors over freshman more often? Sure he does. It would be foolish to think he would do otherwise. Seniors are more experienced, typically bigger and stronger, smarter on the court, and therefore, you would hope, better players. Do you think Derrick Coleman as a freshman was equal to Derrick Coleman as a senior? If you had Derrick Coleman (senior) on your team, would you take him out of the starting lineup so Derrick Coleman (freshman) could start? Of course not.
Historically speaking, when the freshman is deserving of playing time over his teammates, he has received it.