Every year, like clockwork, Syracuse sneaks into the NCAA Tournament, limping in as an unheralded bubble team, only to go on another of its patented March Madness runs. This year has been no different from that perspective with ‘Cuse headed back to the Sweet 16, where the 11th-seeded Orange will take on Houston in a battle of legendary coaches, Jim Boeheim and Kelvin Sampson, Saturday night.
Syracuse’s 2-3 zone has predictably frustrated opponents, but the Orange wouldn’t be where they are without sharp-shooting junior Buddy Boeheim, whose tournament contributions include a 30-point masterpiece in an opening-round upset of San Diego State followed by a similarly heroic performance against West Virginia (25 points on 8-of-17 shooting).
Buddy’s improbable rise to stardom has been one of the more compelling narratives of this year’s tournament. Long before he became “Buddy Buckets,” Boeheim was a precocious toddler watching his father coach Syracuse to a National Championship. To that end, Syracuse Basketball’s official Twitter account shared this adorable video, dated April 10, 2003, of three-year-old Buddy jubilantly high-fiving (or at least trying to) Carmelo Anthony days after capturing the national title in a thrilling, 81-78 nail-biter over Kansas at the New Orleans Superdome.
Now a three-time Olympic gold medalist and the 11th-leading scorer in NBA history, Anthony was, at the time, a cornrowed, 18-year-old freshman and the breakout star of March Madness. Pre-school Buddy, seen wearing Anthony’s iconic No. 15 (which now hangs in the Carrier Dome rafters), worshipped Melo and now it’s time for his idol to return the favor.
Anthony paid homage to his alma mater Friday night, donning custom orange sneakers for his game against the Magic. Boeheim will be looking for some magic of his own when he takes the floor Saturday in Indianapolis.
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